Should my child have a clear aligner instead of braces?
If you have any friends or family who opted for orthodontic treatment for teeth straightening later in life, rather than as a child, they may have chosen to have a removable clear aligner instead of adult braces. A transparent, moulded plastic orthodontic device, a clear aligner is a popular approach to teeth straightening without the clasps, brackets and screws of braces. But are they suitable for your child?
If an orthodontist has evaluated your child and decided that they need a course of treatment to either straighten their teeth or to correct their bite, then your child may be quite apprehensive about the experience.
Given that most children are in their teenage years when they are fitted with braces, feeling self-conscious about how they look is part of the package. Not only that, but how they are perceived among their peers is also of paramount importance to them.
You may be inclined to soften the experience of braces by enquiring about a clear aligner instead. While these are understandably popular with adults, there are a number of considerations you may wish to explore for your child.
Let’s discuss the pros and cons:
Pros to clear aligners for your child
- Invisible – because clear aligners are made from a clear, moulded plastic, they are less visible and it is less obvious that someone is undergoing treatment, ultimately avoiding the social stigma of braces.
- Eating – one of the main restrictions of traditional braces is that some foods get easily caught in the brackets. Clear aligners should be removed when eating, which means the patient is unrestricted in what they choose to eat.
- Tooth care – it’s easy to brush and floss your teeth as normal when wearing clear aligners, as they are removable, unlike fixed braces which require more effort than usual.
Cons to clear aligners for your child
- Discipline – this is a major consideration. Clear aligners need to be worn for 22 to 23 hours a day for up to two years. They should only be removed for eating, brushing and flossing, and to be cleaned. Anything less than that is a waste of time of money. Is your child disciplined enough to do this?
- Treatment range – unfortunately not all orthodontic corrections can be achieved with a clear aligner and severe cases will still need fixed braces.
- Age – clear aligners are better suited to older children, as all of their adult teeth need to have erupted.
- Visibility – believe it or not, but some children like being able to customise the colour of the elastic bands on their braces!
Ultimately the best thing to do is to bring your child in to Happy Kids Dental, one of the UK’s foremost paediatric dental clinics, for an assessment and to speak with an orthodontist directly. We’ll talk you through the options and work with you to come up with a solution that makes everyone happy!