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Can children have clear aligner treatment?

March 31, 2024
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 (such as 3M Clarity, Spark®, ClearCorrectÒ and Invisalign®) are made out of a clear, plastic material that’s moulded 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. For more information on the benefits of a clear aligner, try this article.

Can you get clear aligners with baby teeth?

One of the things that orthodontists will consider when recommending clear alignment treatment to a child is the number of baby teeth they have left. Ideally, all the baby teeth would’ve fallen out before the clear aligner treatment. In general, having a number of baby teeth still present can reduce the efficiency of clear aligner treatment as the aligners may not fit well as these teeth naturally fall out.

This is because the child’s mouth and jaw are still developing.

At what age can kids wear clear aligners?

As we mentioned before, it’s a good idea to wait for all the baby teeth to fall out before moving forward with clear aligner treatment. This means that the youngest age for clear aligner treatment would be around 11 or 12, when all the baby teeth have fallen out.

What is the best age for clear aligner treatment?

Clear aligners may still be suitable for younger patients in carefully selected cases. Speak to your orthodontist to find the best treatment for your child. Or if you want to read more about how they compare to traditional braces, click here.

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 clear 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. Or for more information, try this article.

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