My daughter received her braces early, at the end of 3rd grade, and had them for about a year.  The “new” philosophy was that early intervention would focus on gross placement and that, since the teeth were still very pliable, would happen quickly.  Another short round of braces could happen at 12-14 years for final tweaking.

I was prepared for the initial discomfort, some self-consciousness and the increased need for brushing vigilance.  What I didn’t expect was the lengthy list of “avoid” foods.  Chewing gum, gummy bears, caramels certainly made sense.  Popcorn, apples, raw carrot sticks, corn on the cob (and more) seemed excessively limiting.  And after each tightening we’d have a day or two in which much more than a puree texture was too uncomfortable.  It crimped our style.

I’ve worked with clients having anywhere from mild to severe oral sensory issues and wondered if orthodontia would even be a feasible option if needed.  How can you limit the diet of a child who may only accept ten different food items?

Invisalign presented at the blogging conference I attended and I can’t help but think of the possibilities this opens up for so many of our families.

Invisalign Teen braces are thin, clear aligners that the child/teen removes for brushing and eating so no dietary restrictions are needed.  The family receives a series of aligners, each with a subtle position change.  Since the family has instructions for the time frame of the change (“tightening”), Invisalign also decreases the number of orthodontia visits.  This in itself is a help to families who may already be juggling various therapy appointments, not to mention easing the burden on a child that may be orally defensive.

Though this straightening technique can be used for most misalignments, not all orthodontists are familiar with it.  As a professional more attuned to the oral sensory/dietary limitations of our clients, it’s an appropriate place for family education and advocacy.

Life experiences by Activity Tailor, sponsored by Invisalign




The views expressed in this blog are my own and are intended to inspire other speech-language pathologists in their own practice. If you are a parent, teacher or other educator, these ideas are not intended to take the place of treatment by a certified clinician. Read full disclaimer here.