Sunny California is home to millions of people. About 22% of them are teens below 18 years old, and many will struggle with self-esteem due to their teeth problems. It then stresses the importance of healthcare professionals like an Invisalign dentist in Redwood City.
Teens and Their Oral Health Problems
As a person ages, their dental health concerns also change. Teens usually face the following:
- Dental cavities
- Misalignment or malocclusions of teeth
- Appearance of their oral appliances
According to the Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC), dental caries or cavities remain one of the chronic diseases among teens from 12 to 19 years old. It is more than three times more prevalent than asthma for those between 14 and 16 years old.
Dental cavities, which occur when the teeth’s enamel breaks down, can increase the risk of gum disease. It will then lead to teeth loss when left untreated.
Many teens also develop malocclusions or misalignment. Around 8% of Americans have a severe overbite, where the upper front teeth protrude and overlap their bottom counterpart.
Misalignments can also begin early as soon as permanent teeth appear. Depending on their severity, they can affect speech, appearance, and chewing.
Usually, the best treatments for these malocclusions are orthodontics. It’s when the patient has to wear an appliance such as braces, retainers, or Invisalign.
These tools apply pressure to the teeth, so they will gradually move to their ideal places. It may take months or years before a dentist can correct misalignments completely.
The Damage to Self-Esteem
These oral health issues, though, threaten not only their body but also their self-esteem. A 2014 study highlighted the impact of these dental problems to their self-confidence.
According to it, there’s an association between bullying and visible malocclusions. These include severe overjet that the person can no longer close their lips and overcrowding of the teeth.
Jordanian research also showed similar results. About 50% of the respondents reported experiencing bullying in general. Of this group, half said the reason was their teeth.
While the study involved non-American children, US dental experts believed the same pattern was also present in America.
Orthodontics is the most effective solution, and it works well when the patients are still young. The problem is some kids can still suffer from bullying because of their braces. It could be because of the appliance’s association to “being a nerd” and the way it changes physical appearance.
For this reason, more dentists recommend Invisalign. It is a clear aligner, so while it works similarly as a metal brace, it is “invisible.”
Every Invisalign aligner is customized, which also means the size and shape can change as the teeth move.
Not everyone can wear it. For instance, if a teen has a dental cavity or gum disease, a dentist needs to treat it first. It also demands a commitment to wearing, cleaning, and keeping track of the teeth’s movement.
The design alone, though, can already improve not only the appearance of the teeth but also the level of self-confidence. Since it’s transparent, teenagers become less likely targets to bullying because of their oral appliances.
By increasing their self-confidence, too, they may also be more likely to comply with the dos and don’ts in wearing Invisalign.