Who Should Provide Invisalign for a Teenager?

Must a teenager go to a Invisalign Teen Provider or can a standard Invisalign provider give the needed care?

Doctor Answers 3

Only orthodontists treat teen Invisalign patients

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Invisalign introduced their new Teen Invialign product a year ago. It is only available to orthodontists not general dentists. The pilot progeam started with 600 of the top orthodontists in the country in June of 2008. In August it was introduced to the rest of the orthodontists in the country.

Compliance has always been an issue in orthodontics whether it be with fixed appliances using elastics, headgear, or a toothbrush or removable appliances. I review the advantages and disadvantagess of fixed appliances with the child and the parents. We hand pick our Invialign Teen patients. I have found the Teen Invisalign product to be tremendously successful.

Teenage children have wide swings in hormones. These children have exacerbated responses to local irritants and foreign bodies like dental plaque. With Teen Invisalign, we see none of the gum problems that we see with braces. I really case rest my case right here. I employ 6 dental hygienists just to keep up with soft tissue issues that we have with fixed appliances (braces). We don't have these issues with our Invisalign patients. Not to offer Teen Invisalgn as an option would be a mistake.

Springfield Orthodontist

Any Invisalign Provider but...

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Any Invisalign Provider is able to provide the Teen product. However, if the treatment requires the use of all the features of Teen, then you would be best to see someone who has experience with all of the capabilities. Invisalign provides a Teen designation to those who treat about 1 Teen case/week. Any doctor with this designation is likely also going to be a Premier or Elite Provider.

The most difficult part of using Invisalign Teen is when permanent tooth eruption must still occur. There has to be an estimation of the size of the tooth that will come into the arch. Other than that, the doctor should know how to use the other features such as torquing ridges and the compliance indicators.

As always, proper treatment planning and sequencing of the tooth movement is extremely important. Best of luck!

Jason K. Tam, DDS
Toronto Orthodontist

Best to see an experienced orthodontist for Invisalign

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Cooperation is a very important part of orthodontic treatment. Invisalign requires a tremendous amount of cooperation to even remotely work as invisalign prescribes. I would not even consider treating a teenager with invisalign in my practice. It is difficult enough just to get a child to wear their retainers after orthodontic treatment and to expect them to wear a series of aligners 24/7 is ridiculous.

I feel that invisalign is targeting general dentist to prescribe invisalign to their teenage patients that they would have normally referred to an experienced orthodontist just to increase their bottom line. This is a mistake and it will be a matter of time before these general dentist and orthodontist realize that they are not able to properly provide the standard of care in these cases due to the limitations of invisalign and cooperation.

We live in a society of instant gratification that should be invisible and I can tell you from experience that hard work, a short time of inconvenience and the right tools will get the job done. The tools are braces which are attached to the teeth. Unfortunately, they are not that pretty, but it is the most effective way to get the teeth straight, roots properly positioned, and bites corrected.

James J. Awbrey IV, DMD
Atlanta Orthodontist

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