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Invisalign vs. Invisalign Teen: What’s the Difference?


Dr. Jared Rykiss (Principal)


February 13, 2023

Invisalign has grown in popularity over the past few years, and it’s an excellent alternative to traditional braces for many teens and adults. When you are researching treatment for yourself or for your child, you might notice that there are different types of Invisalign available. Invisalign and Invisalign Teen both use progressive, clear aligners to change the look of your smile. However, there are a few differences you should know about.

What Is Invisalign?

Invisalign is a unique orthodontic method that allows your orthodontist to help reverse a variety of bite issues and cosmetic problems, including things like gapped teeth or an underbite. Anyone undergoing Invisalign treatment, whether it is traditional Invisalign or Invisalign Teen, will use a series of clear aligners that are carefully designed by their orthodontist to gradually shift the position of their teeth. Depending on what orthodontic problems you are trying to fix, your treatment may last for a year or multiple years.

How Are Invisalign and Invisalign Teen Different?

While both Invisalign and Invisalign Teen guarantee excellent results for patients who are able to stick to the program, there are a couple of key differences that you’ll encounter. If your child is using Invisalign Teen, you will notice a small dot inside the trays. These dots are a way for the orthodontist to be able to see how much the aligners are actually being worn. Over hundreds of hours of wear, the dot shifts in color from a solid blue shade to a clear or white hue.

Traditional Invisalign is designed for adults, so your orthodontist will assume that you are wearing the trays at least 20 to 22 hours a day without the reminder that the dot provides. If you have a teen and the dot is still bright blue at the next visit, your orthodontist will be able to tell that they have not been wearing the aligners enough and might delay the next set of trays until the current set has been worn sufficiently.

Another key difference between the two programs is how many aligners are given over the course of treatment. Invisalign Teen allows for more replacement trays, as it is assumed that teens are more forgetful and less responsible, so the program accepts that replacement trays will be necessary.

Invisalign Teen Is Designed For Growth

Another key difference between Invisalign and Invisalign Teen is that traditional Invisalign is made for mouths that are completely full of grown, fully adult teeth. Teens can still have changes occurring in their mouths, even if most of their baby teeth are gone. If your child still has teeth growing in, Invisalign Teen can allow the trays to shift as molars start to erupt and make sure that new teeth are growing into the right place.

Depending on the severity of your child’s orthodontic needs, roots might need to be shifted to allow for a healthy smile. Invisalign Teen has the capability to help guide roots into the right position with the help of your orthodontist and Invisalign trays. If you’re not sure whether or not your child would benefit more from traditional Invisalign or Invisalign Teen, it’s important to work with their orthodontist. They will be able to help you determine the best path forward to get the smile that they have always wanted to have.

What Can Be Fixed With Invisalign?

Both Invisalign and Invisalign Teen can correct a broad range of orthodontic and dental problems. Some of the most common reasons why people start Invisalign Teen treatment include:

  • An overbite, or teeth where the upper teeth hang over the lower teeth 
  • Crowding, where there is not currently enough space in the mouth for all of the teeth that you have, and an adjustment is necessary 
  • Relapse, where your past orthodontic treatment was not properly maintained with a retainer so some adjustment is necessary 
  • Crossbite, or a situation where the upper jaw and lower jaw do not come together correctly so the bite is uncomfortable and not correct
  • Space between teeth, when there is a significant gap between teeth anywhere in the mouth
  • Malocclusions, or problems with the bite that are relatively straightforward and that can be corrected with Invisalign Teen instead of more extensive orthodontic treatment

Invisalign and Invisalign Teen are both versatile solutions. Contact the team at Rykiss Orthodontics to learn more.


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