Millions of Americans undergo orthodontic treatment, correcting alignment and spacing problems while improving overall oral health. The vast majority of those patients are under age 18.
Orthodontic treatment isn’t just a rite of passage for teens. It’s a way for parents to help their children enjoy better oral health and avoid costly treatments throughout their entire lifetimes.
While traditional bracket-and-wire braces were once the only option for correcting crooked teeth and alignment issues, today’s teens have options that work faster and are more comfortable.
The problem: Parents need to know how to decide which option is the better choice for their child’s needs.
At Dentist at Rock Creek in Cypress, Texas, KimCuc Vo, DDS, and Sandra Raouf, DDS, offer two popular options for orthodontic treatment for teens (and adults, too): FastBraces® and Invisalign®. Each option offers plenty of benefits. Here’s how they compare.
Invisalign uses clear plastic aligners to move teeth into proper alignment. Aligners are molded to fit your teen’s teeth, and during treatment, your teen wears a series of aligners — typically 20 or more sets.
Each set of aligners has a slightly different shape, which is what keeps your teen’s teeth moving.
Because they’re clear, the aligners are almost invisible while they’re in place, making them a good option for teens who are anxious about the cosmetic effects of braces. Your teen may remove the aligners for meals, which means there are no dietary restrictions, either.
Most treatments are completed within 12-18 months, although as with any orthodontic treatment, your teen’s timeline will depend on their specific needs. Removable aligners also make it easier to brush and floss during treatment, a benefit many teens appreciate.
FastBraces uses brackets and wires like traditional braces, but the brackets are shaped differently — more like triangles than squares. The differences in bracket design help FastBraces work more quickly than traditional braces.
The wire used in FastBraces is different, too. Made of a flexible blend of nickel and titanium, FastBraces wires don’t need to be changed or tightened during treatment. Instead, their special design enables them to exert continual, gentle pressure to keep teeth moving at a steady pace.
Like Invisalign, FastBraces work much more quickly than traditional braces. In fact, with FastBraces, some treatment can be performed in around 100 days — a little over three months.
FastBraces are also a good choice for teens who would rather not have to think about wearing their aligners for 22 hours a day. If your teen is more likely to forget to put their aligners in, FastBraces are a sort of set-it-and-forget-it alternative that makes their schedules and routines a little bit easier.
One more benefit: Because of the way FastBraces work, extractions before treatment aren’t always necessary.
Both orthodontic options offer treatment that’s faster and typically more comfortable than traditional braces, and both require fewer office visits than traditional braces. And of course, both options help your child enjoy a more beautiful smile and better oral health throughout their life.
So which one is better for your teen? It really depends on your teen’s needs and preferences, and that means having a conversation involving you, your teen, and our orthodontic team.
To find out more about both of these state-of-the-art orthodontic treatments and to decide which is a better option for your teen, call our Cypress, Texas, office at 832-737-8234 or request an appointment online.