Bianca Castro

Teenagers Choose a ‘Clearer' Path to Straight Teeth

Wearing braces as a child or teenager might seem like a right of passage, but advances in orthodontics may be making the "brace face" a thing of the past.

More teenagers are opting for clear alignment but doctors said there are a few things parents should know.

When 17-year-old Tyler Glover, of Frisco, decided to come to Dr. Jared Corbridge for a straighter smile, he said he already decided wire braces weren't for him.

He said the clear option was the "clear" alignment.

"I'm 17 and most people have already done their braces. I think it just looks better," said Glover.

Teenagers make up the fastest growing group using clear alignment for a straighter smile, according to the maker of Invisalign, as reported in this New York Times article.

"Patients love it. They get to eat what they want. Visually, aesthetically, it looks great and there's less discomfort," said Corbridge, who added he sees the increase of interest from teenagers in his own office.

He said the clear alignment gives more control to orthodontists.

3-D scans allow them to create trays based on their own calculations of the positioning of the teeth.

Patients get a new tray every week, which could help with a potential downside to the process: trays that get lost or accidently tossed out with lunch leftovers.

"The main barrier to teens doing Invisalign is parents saying, 'I don't trust my child!'" said Corbridge.

He added that children have to stay on top of their oral hygiene to keep their mouth as healthy as possible while the clear alignment works over a period of months.

He said patients young and old also have to understand that compliance is the key to success with clear aligners.

It's a commitment Glover is willing to make for a more discreet route to the perfect smile.

The average cost of clear alignment is slightly more than wire braces and if your child constantly loses his or her alignment trays, parents can expect to pay even more.

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