At Cassinelli, Shanker, & Associates Orthodontics, we understand that some of our patients want the excellent results of braces but need a corrective treatment that is more flexible and discreet. This is why we offer clear aligner treatments. While it may seem this type of treatment is aimed at older patients, kids often have the greatest success in clear aligners and achieve beautiful smiles that will last for years to come.
What Are Clear Aligners?
Clear aligners are virtually invisible trays that fit snugly over a patient’s teeth and are adjusted over time to gradually shift their teeth into place for their dream smile. For clear aligners, we will use a 3D imaging system to craft a digital model of your child’s teeth and use it to make treatment decisions and plan out a series of aligners that will help them achieve the desired result. About every two weeks, your kid will receive a new set of aligners that have been slightly changed to provide their teeth with consistent pressure while moving them in the planned direction.
For our aligners, we can print their trays in-house using our state-of-the-art 3D printer so that you can get them as soon as possible. This also makes the aligners more customizable since we have more control over the creation of the trays. Drs. Alex Cassinelli, Shiv Shanker, Robin Baker, and Jeremy Dock are consistently active in current-day research and are all board-certified orthodontists, so they are more than qualified to craft a treatment plan that works for your child.
Clear aligners also feature attachments, or buttons, which are small white tooth-colored shapes affixed to the teeth during clear aligner treatment. Due to the round and smooth shape of teeth, attachments help move the teeth with precision in the correct direction to achieve the best result most efficiently. Our orthodontists will design the attachments specifically required for your treatment.
Invisalign aligners aren’t printed in-house like our aligners, but they are still highly effective, and we have created many beautiful smiles using this special clear aligner treatment. If Invisalign aligners are the best option for your child’s orthodontic needs and goals, you will still receive a new set of aligners every two weeks, and we will plan out the treatment so they can achieve their dream smile. In order for either of these treatments to be effective, it’s essential that your child wears the aligners for at least 20 hours a day.
How Are Clear Aligners for Kids Different Than Clear Aligners for Adults?
The reason kids often do so well in clear aligners is that they are the most adaptable to change and aren’t likely to remove their aligners often after they get used to them. This varies from patient to patient, but children usually keep their aligners in for the required amount of time, and the consistent pressure helps their teeth move into the correct place on schedule.
These aligners also work well for kids because their mouths are still growing. As their mouths form, it’s easier to direct growth and change the position of their teeth and jaw before they’re fully formed. To ensure that your child is wearing their aligners for the suggested 20 hours a day, Invisalign features a compliance indicator on every one of their sets for kids. These indicators are small marks near the back of the appliance, and they fade as a patient wears their aligners. If your child isn’t wearing their Invisalign for long enough, the indicators won’t fade, and you can help remind them to keep their aligners in to protect their treatment progress.
What Are the Benefits of Clear Aligners for Children?
There are many great benefits to clear aligners, such as the beautiful and healthy smiles they create. Beyond the great results, they also help patients feel more comfortable during treatment and gives them a sense of freedom they may not have if they wore braces.
Clear aligner wearers can enjoy all of their favorite foods without worrying about damaging their appliances. In braces, they would need to avoid hard, sticky, and chewy foods. As long as your child removes their aligners and puts them somewhere safe while they’re eating, they can continue eating all of their snacks and treats.
Another great benefit of clear aligners is that it is easier for children to brush and floss their teeth as they normally would. They can remove their aligners and make sure they maintain their great oral health without worrying about navigating around brackets and wires. By keeping their teeth clean, they can protect their treatment progress and ensure their future smile is a bright one.
How Should My Child Care for Their Clear Aligners?
We know that it can be difficult for children to do their oral health routine by themselves, but with clear aligners, they only have to add more step after they brush and floss. To keep their aligners clean and free of food debris, your child should use a toothbrush and warm water and scrub the insides and outsides of their trays. This helps get rid of the harmful bacteria that would otherwise go back on their teeth.
Can My Child Still Participate in Sports?
Your child can still participate in their favorite sports, even during treatment. Clear aligners are unique because they act as a sort of mouthguard that protects their mouth and teeth from getting damaged during a game. However, if your child feels more comfortable playing without their aligners, they are free to remove their trays for a few hours, as long as they remember to put them back in afterward.