Los Angeles cosmetic dentist Rhonda Kalasho, DDS says the number one trending procedure among millennials at her West Hollywood practice is Invisalign, which didn’t surprise her. “Our average aligner patient is 32 years old,” she says. Why are so many millennials flocking to clear aligners? Dr. Kalasho says women can thank age-related changes for their teeth straightening needs.
The Mesial Drift
“While there are many people in this demographic who are going back to aligners because they wore braces in their youth and never wore the retainers, there’s also something called the mesial drift that happens to women as we age. The bone on the front of the mandible starts to become thinner as we get older, and the lower teeth start to shift.”
This leads to bottom teeth that appear crooked, but as Dr. Kalasho notes, more patients are dedicating a few months to a year of correcting orthodontal issues for a second time in their lives. “The reason Invisalign is so popular is there are so many options the treatment can be expressed. It can be done in under six months or three months, or it can take up to two years depending on how advanced the treatment is, and the concerns being addressed.”
Are all clear aligners the same?
There are many at-home clear aligner treatments being offered virtually, but Dr. Kalasho cautions that it’s best to seek a dentist who can assess your concerns and provide a treatment plan. “What I love about Invisalign is that you can do anything as simple as a really benign procedure, to something super advanced like an underbite or overbite. There are a lot of these pop-up shops that are offering something similar, but the Academy of General Dentistry and the American Dental Association doesn’t recommend them because a dentist never looks at you and never takes X-rays. With Invisalign we actually overlay X-rays onto your modeling so we’re able to tell you exactly how your teeth move.”
How can you ensure the best results?
Planning your Invisalign treatment properly is essential, and Dr. Kalasho says she’s had to help patients who’ve tried the mail-order aligners and the results have not been desirable. “When teeth are moved, they move within your jaw, and no part of your body should be moved without the direct supervision of a doctor. A lot of these mail in aligners, never include a doctor consult, or even have a doctor supervising the case. When a mail in order aligner kit comes in, your simple task is to take some photos of your smile with a basic camera app and send in impressions that you take yourself. If you have active cavities or gum disease, moving teeth is dangerous and can potentially cause tooth loss or they can’t close their mouths because the treatment planned correctly.”
The Confidence Boost
Dr. Kalasho also notes that Invisalign is so popular due to word-of-mouth referrals. Once her patients share their beautiful results, their peers begin to see how easy it is to achieve a straighter smile in no time. “We know our patients smile more confidently when they’ve completed treatment. In 2014, there was a survey conducted amongst U.S. teens who were unhappy with their teeth and smile. Of the 30 percent of teens who expressed they were most self-conscious about their teeth, nearly 50 percent of teens who used Invisalign showed a significant boost in self-esteem during treatment. While my average patients are older, I can tell you that in my experience 100 percent of them have shown an increase in self-confidence and their smile.”