The Tooth Fairy paid her first visit to our house last fall when our daughter started losing her baby teeth. As her adult teeth grew in, it became evident to our dentist that she’ll need to have her teeth straightened at some point in the future.

“Oh, no,” I sighed, when he told me.

It wasn’t the cost that worried me so much. You can’t really put a price tag on the worth of a stellar smile and all it can do for a person’s life-long self-esteem. No – we’d find a way to afford it.

My concern over this news was the fact that I’d worn braces as a teen and I didn’t want my daughter to endure the same painful, sometimes embarrassing process I went through to achieve my (if I say so myself) beautiful smile.

Does the end justify the means?

My braces were uncomfortable at best and downright painful at their worst. I remember the sour taste of the chalky cement as it adhered to my teeth, gooey and ready for the brackets to be attached. I remember the rough metal of the brackets shredding my lips and drawing blood when I closed my mouth. I remember the throbbing pain in my gums after appointments when my wires were tightened. And I still cringe at the feeling of humiliation when people told me I had food stuck in my braces.

Was the habitual pain, discomfort, and inconvenience of having braces worth it to me, looking back? Definitely. Orphan Annie was right, “You’re never fully dressed without a smile!”

As a teenager and as an adult I’ve received many compliments on my straight teeth and pretty smile and with each one I always feel a celebrated boost in my self esteem.

Our smiles are how we greet the world. They’re a huge part of the first impression we make:

So, what’s a parent to do?

A few weeks ago a friend invited me to attend an Invisalign for Teens event. I knew nothing about the product but, with my daughter’s eventual straightening needs still fresh in my mind, I thought it would be a great idea to learn more about this alternative to braces.

Dr. Bud Leucke, a San Antonio orthodontist with extensive experience using Invisalign for his teen patients, opened the event and gave us the rundown:

  • Invisalign and traditional braces cost about the same (about $5,000 – 6,000). If your insurance policy covers orthodontic expenses, both braces and Invisalign should be covered to the same extent.
  • Invisalign is a series of plastic aligners that are to be changed every 2 weeks to slowly move teeth (and if your teen is forgetful or misplaces things, don’t worry – Invisalign for Teen provides up to six replacement aligners at no additional cost)
  • Invisalign can also be used to correct over/underbites.
  • Invisalign aligners have no BPA or phthalate plasticizers.
  • With Invisalign, teens and parents save time: appointments for traditional braces need to be every 4-8 weeks while appointments for Invisalign are every 8-12 weeks.
  • With Invisalign, appointments are shorter too: just 15-30 minutes for Invisalign vs. 30-60 minutes for traditional braces.

Straight teeth don’t just make us look better. They keep us healthier too. Oral hygiene often gets worse with traditional braces because it’s difficult to adequately clean around brackets and wires and in between teeth. With Invisalign, you can remove the trays and clean your teeth as usual. Straight teeth are easier to clean, which leads to healthy gums. Studies now link chronic gum inflammation to low both weights because the chemicals produced during inflammation include pitocin which triggers labor.

A Clear Solution

When our daughter is old enough to have her teeth straightened, I will definitely talk to our doctor about Invisalign. As Dr. Bud said, “Invisalign is to braces what iPhones are to cell phones.” The technology is now available for an easier teeth straightening alternative and it gets better every day. I want our daughter to have the best solution to help her gain a gorgeous smile that will take her through life.

Want to learn more about Invisalign?

Questions to ask your doctor about Invisalign for Teens.

San Antonio parents: get a $500 off coupon for Invisalign

Enter the Invisalign New Smile Sweepstakes by July 13, 2012 for a chance to win up to $1500 toward an Invisalign or Invisalign Teen treatment.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post but all opinions are my own. I choose to write about Invisalign because I was truly impressed by the product and how it makes the teeth straightening process so much better than what I went through in the 80s. I was also very impressed by the informational event hosted by Invisalign and Gold PR. Y’all sure know how to treat and value bloggers!