Align Technology revolutionized the way orthodontists straighten teeth when they brought Invisalign® to the market back in 1999. Since then, they have made several improvements to the original design and have come out with different versions of the product to address specific issues. One such version is Invisalign Teen®, which was introduced in 2008.
Invisalign Teen® looks and behaves in much the same way as traditional Invisalign®, which begs the question: Is there really any difference between the two or is this just a clever marketing ploy? After all, it’s not uncommon for companies to repackage a product under a different name to cater to a certain type of consumer or specific need of the consumer.
Well, the short answer is—no. No, they haven’t simply repackaged traditional Invisalign® and started marketing it to a younger audience. In fact, the makers of the clear aligners specifically went back to the lab to create a product similar to the original but one that addresses the unique needs of younger people, whose lifestyles may be different than adults and whose teeth may still be coming in.
But before we get to the specifics that make Invisalign Teen® a unique product, let’s not forget that all of the features that make the original aligners so popular are available in the teen version as well. The following is brief overview of the similarities between the two versions of the product:
Similarities Between Invisalign® and Invisalign Teen®
One of the biggest draws of Invisalign® is the fact that the aligners are nearly invisible. This eliminates the self-consciousness that braces-wearers often suffer and is likely one of the reasons there has been a huge surge in adults seeking orthodontic treatment in recent years. For younger people, the discreet design is equally appealing and ensures that their smiling face is what will stand out in their year book photos—not their braces.
Another benefit that both adults and younger people can enjoy is the convenience of removing Invisalign®, which means users won’t have any food restrictions and will be able to brush and floss as normal.
While some minor discomfort is to be expected with any appliance that moves the teeth, both Invisalign® and Invisalign Teen® are made of a smooth plastic, so the irritation associated with traditional metal braces rubbing against or catching on the lips, tongue or inside of the mouth is non-exisitent with both versions of this product.
As you can see, all of the things that make Invisalign® a great orthodontic treatment option for adults, make Invisalign Teen® an attractive option for younger patients as well.
Finally, let’s take a look at some of the key differences that make Invisalign Teen® a truly unique product. These differences don’t make Invisalign Teen® better than the original—just better for younger patients.
Differences Between Invisalign® and Invisalign Teen®
The blue dot you see in the above image is one of the features exclusive to this version of the product: the compliance indicator. The dot fades to clear after repeated use, so it lets your orthodontist know that you’ve been wearing your trays faithfully.
Guides New Molars Into Place
Younger patients no longer have to wait for all of their teeth to come in before starting treatment, as Invisalign Teen® has been designed with features such as “eruption tabs” which allow room for new teeth to erupt and help to guide them into place.
Additional Replacement Aligners
The fact that you can remove the aligners can be somewhat of a catch 22—the convenience is a huge plus, but the potential to lose or throw the trays away is, well, not so great (obviously). Thankfully, Invisalign Teen® comes with several free replacements, so what once was a big potential drawback is now much less of an issue.
So there you have it. Now you know that there are real differences between Invisalign® and Invisalign Teen® and what they are, and we’re sure your lives are better for it. 🙂
But seriously, it’s good to know that Align Technologies is a trustworthy company that continually works to make their products more effective and available to an increasing range of people who are in need of orthodontic treatment.