When parents ask me if their child is mature enough for Invisalign, the answer usually is a resounding, yes.
In my orthodontic practice, 90 percent of patients are compliant when it comes to wearing Invisalign for the recommended time each day. And, in fact, it is middle-aged men who are often the ones with minuscule issues, because they are busy with business meetings and tend to travel and sometimes forget them in hotel rooms. On the other hand, children do not have that many responsibilities, so once they get in the habit of wearing the aligners, they usually are fine. The general guidelines are simple: You wear the clear aligners for 22 to 23 hours a day and only take them out when eating meals and brushing your teeth.
There is no set age for when a child can wear Invisalign. Currently, I have patients as young as seven years old using Invisalign for interceptive orthodontics.
Furthermore, there is no downside risk for choosing Invisalign treatment, because if parents tells me their child is having problems making it work, which is a tiny percentage, I can switch them to traditional fixed braces at any time, at no additional charge.
In reality, I am more likely to find adolescents with Invisalign who remember to wear their aligners than adolescents who have fixed braces and remember to properly brush their teeth.
If I find issues with a patient being less than totally compliant wearing the aligners, I can make adjustments to the treatment plan.
I also create treatment plans so there is some flexibility in the schedule. If a child loses one aligner tray, he or she can use the next one in the series without negatively impacting the results. I also monitor patients and can tell if they are not wearing the aligners enough hours each day, or if they are not wearing each stage for the proper amount of time, and then can adjust accordingly.
With each patient, my goal is to make Invisalign the most lifestyle-friendly option.