Can children have clear aligner treatment?

When it comes to orthodontic treatment, patients are spoiled for choice. While traditional braces are still the most common form of corrective treatment, there are a number of emerging orthodontic technologies that may make the process of aligning teeth more comfortable and attractive. But are these orthodontic treatment options suitable for young children?  

The answer is more complicated than you might think, so we’re going to take a closer look at clear aligners to help you decide if the orthodontic treatment option is right for your child.

What are clear aligners?

Clear aligners are made out of a clear, plastic material that’s molded into the shape of your child’s teeth. From an initial scan or impression, a series of aligners are made to incrementally straighten your child’s teeth.  They are virtually invisible and this makes them a popular choice for those who are self-conscious about undergoing orthodontic treatment.

Are clear aligners the right treatment option for children?

Clear aligners are a good alternative for people who want straight teeth, without the appearance of metal wires and brackets. They are removable which makes them easy to clean. And because you can take them out while eating, it’s easier to chew on food and brush your teeth afterward. This makes them appealing for children and adults alike.  

However, because clear aligners are removable, they require much more discipline to wear, and if they are not used properly treatment progress may be compromised. Aligners need to be worn 20 to 22 hours per day to be effective and careful consideration needs to be given for how children and teens will cope with this routine. They also need to be cleaned regularly and stored properly when not in the mouth – a common
the problem we see with younger patients is lost or broken aligners.

What is the best age for clear aligner treatment?

Clear aligners (such as Invisalign, ClearCorrect or OrthoCaps) are generally just as safe and effective for children as they are for adults. Some orthodontists may provide clear alignment treatment for young children, but they are not usually recommended for anyone under the age of 10. This is because most specialists prefer to wait until all the child’s baby teeth have fallen out, which usually happens by age 12. That said, clear aligners may still be suitable if the child only has one or two baby teeth left. Speak to your orthodontist to find the best treatment for your child. 

What is the verdict?

Clear aligners can be a good option for children with mild malocclusions; however, it is important to consider the pros and cons while also examining other treatment options. It’s important to select the right option for your child, not just the most attractive.

Ceramic braces are a great alternative for those seeking a more subtle appearance or are worried about their ability to comply with removable aligner treatment.

Whether you’re considering traditional braces or clear aligner treatment, only an orthodontist has the training, experience and expert knowledge to offer you the full suite of treatment options and give you and your child the confidence that you’re in the best hands.  

Everyone’s mouth, needs, and approach to their smile are different. The best way to understand what’s right for you is to speak to an orthodontist.

Use our Finder tool to find a specialist orthodontist near you and make the best decision for your child’s smile.

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