Byte or braces for teens?

September 17, 2020

You knew this time would come. The dentist appointment where the doctor finally says “your teenager’s ready for braces, it’s time to call the orthodontist!” Most parents have been there- it is stressful. Finances, timing, risks, recommendations… they’ll have you wondering if it’s all worth it? Maybe you aren’t new to the world of orthodontics, but you probably still have questions about what the best options are for your kids (and maybe even yourself). We’re not totally biased, we know that Byte may not be the best orthodontic solution for everyone, but we want to help you understand the options.

How do they work?

Braces are metal brackets that are bonded to the enamel of each tooth, then wires are adjusted and tightened over time to move teeth into place. There are a few different options in terms of metal, ceramic, colorful or more discrete.

Invisalign is another option, available at most orthodontic offices. These are clear aligners that are made using a 3D image of the patient’s mouth. Aligners are practically invisible, and are changed out to move teeth into the desired place.

Byte is the newest technology-enabled option, which also offers clear aligners that straighten teeth, but no office visits are required. The treatment and care is still overseen by doctors, dentists, and orthodontists, but from the comfort of your own home. In addition to convenience, Byte also is known for speed. The exclusive HyperByte technology allows treatment times twice as fast as other invisible aligners.

What’s the outcome?

A lot of us adults had braces when we were younger, and we survived! But we also probably remember it being stressful and awkward. Some kids love the idea of conventional metal braces, it can be a sign of maturity and growing up. But a lot of kids do experience anxiety around their aesthetics at this age, where fitting in with peers is so important. Invisible aligners do offer a great solution in this department, they are nearly undetectable when worn. So, no worries if picture day is coming up.

Still not quite sure? Consider saving yourself a trip to the orthodontist office. You can take this quiz for your teen to help you decide. The cost of our impression kits are fully refundable if for any reason they are not a candidate for Byte. In our opinion, it’s worth a shot!

The emotional impact.

A lot of us adults had braces when we were younger, and we survived!  But we also probably remember it being stressful and awkward. Some kids love the idea of conventional metal braces, it can be a sign of maturity and growing up. But a lot of kids do experience anxiety around their aesthetics at this age, where fitting in with peers is so important. Invisible aligners do offer a great solution in this department, they are nearly undetectable when worn. So, no worries if picture day is coming up.

The cost comparison.

Cost Comparison, Byte, Invisalign and braces

Braces and Invisalign both require many trips to the orthodontist. It’s how adjustments are made, and that part needs to be done in person. Byte is completely remote. There’s less overhead, and more technology. It’s how we keep costs low. Remote monitoring with Byte’s Expert Dental Network is a win/win for affordability, and efficiency.

What is faster?

This one is a bit trickier to answer. Braces on average require 1-3 years, but braces are also tackling some of the most complicated orthodontic cases. Byte fixes milder orthodontic cases, with estimated treatments between 3-6 months. So, when comparing apples to apples, (one person’s moderate case across all three options) Byte does offer speed as a significant advantage.

The secret sauce for fast results is: using HyperByte every day for 5-10 minutes, and wearing the aligners as much as possible. It does take commitment! Your teen will need to consistently wear their aligners for about 22 hours per day (or 10 hours per night with Byte At-Night). If they aren’t the most diligent or forget to put in the aligners, the overall treatment time will take longer.

Daily use and care.

Teens and ‘taking great care of things’ rarely go hand in hand. This is a tough part for both invisible aligners and braces. They both require care and upkeep in order to work well.

Braces considerations:

  • Flossing and brushing is a bit more tedious and time consuming to navigate the brackets and wires.
  • Brushing is encouraged after all meals to remove any food or plaque that may get stuck.
  • Avoid foods that are hard or sticky, as they can get stuck or even break the wires and brackets while biting and chewing.

Invisible aligner considerations:

  • Byte aligners will need to be removed before eating, but that does mean that you get to eat all your favorite foods including corn on the cob, without issue.
  • Brushing is required after meals, before you put your aligners back in. This prevents food or bacteria from being trapped in the trays.
  • Clear aligners can potentially be lost, since they do need to be removed for eating. Byte comes with a handy case, but teenagers do risk potentially losing them if not careful.

Sports.

If your child plays sports that require a mouthguard, like football, wrestling, or hockey- it can be tricky with braces. They may need special orthodontic mouthguards that work well with braces, and they are indeed cumbersome due to the larger size. If they chose to skip the mouthguard all together, it can be risky. Any impact near the face could not only damage the braces, but also the inside of their mouth.

Both Byte and Invisalign fit tighter on the teeth, so traditional mouthguards are usually ok to use. There’s also far less chance of damaging the tray if there is an unprotected impact. Most teens have no issues wearing their aligners during sports, but of course having the option to remove them is a nice feature.

What if their teeth move after treatment?

Teeth do move, and it’s common. All orthodontic options require retainers after treatment. Wearing a retainer is necessary to keep that awesome new smile in place. Costs of additional visits and retainers will vary by provider. However, Byte includes retainers in the upfront cost of treatment.

To protect your investment, Byte also includes the Byte for Life GuaranteeTM. It’s the only invisible aligner plan with a built in promise that, if your teeth move after treatment, we will get them back into place at no additional cost.  

Final decisions.

Here’s a quick recap of the pros and cons between Byte, Invisalign, and braces for teens:

Byte, Invisalign and Braces chart

The bottom line is that based on your teenager’s case, they may need to go with traditional braces. They are a great solution for a wide variety of cases, and are still quite popular as a treatment option. But if your teen is worried about their appearance, or maybe isn’t willing to give up certain foods, Byte provides a pretty great alternative… with some cost savings for you too.

Get started today! Order an impression kit for your teen here. It’s risk free, and fully refundable if they are not a great candidate for Byte.