In the 70's, I spent many nights watching Richie, Potsy and the Fonz on the TV show "Happy Days". My friends and I learned a lot about how to act properly (more or less) around parents and teachers from Richie and Potsy. But our attention was primarily on the Fonz, who taught us how to act cool around our friends. He was the king of cool to me and my peers in the mid-70's as we stood on the cusp of adolescence, not very sure how to proceed. Thankfully we all made it to middle school and found other interests that eventually replaced our time watching "Happy Days" before the Fonz filmed the episode where he jumped the shark. We didn't have to witness the king of cool turning into the king of irrelevant, as the producers of "Happy Days" wrote stupid lines and stupid actions that the Fonz had to pull off in desperate hope of improving viewership ratings. Of course, desperation rarely yields success. For "Happy Days", filming the Fonz jumping the shark did nothing to revive the ratings, but it did leave us with a wonderful term that encapsulates the foolishness of desperate over-reach.
Which brings me to Invisalign and their latest push - Invisalign First. If you don't know what Invisalign First is - please look it up and see for yourself. In summary, it is Phase I orthodontic treatment for children in mixed dentition. Up until now, Invisalign has promoted (rightfully) that the big advantage to invisable aligners is that they are INVISIBLE and REMOVABLE. Adults love this. Teens love this. Children WANT COLORS on their braces. Children LOSE things that aren't attached. Children FORGET things. I've got two and know that they would forget their lunch on the days they don't lose their lunchbox and actually get a lunch, if I didn't put it in their backpack before they leave for school. Pray tell, what child is going to get excited that they have to wear something all the time that has no colors, and can come out AND GET LOST? Better yet, what parent is going to sign up for constant monitoring of their child's mouth? Glued in is WAY better in this age group. I know that as a mom, let alone as an orthodontist who has replaced many lost and broken retainers for my younger patients.
Is this the moment where Invisalign - the world dominate super-power of invisible aligners and master of direct-to-patient marketing jumps the shark by reaching too far to expand their business? I say yes. They should have talked to moms before deciding to develop a removable, invisible orthodontic system for children, because we would have told them they were nuts. That said, if you would like to talk to me about Invisalign First for your young child, I'm happy to visit with you about any questions you may have. :)