August 11, 2023
Has your teen started Invisalign over the summer? While they’ve certainly had to work hard to get on board with treatment during the time off, it’s equally important for them to stick to their good orthodontic habits during the hustle and bustle of the school year. By doing so, they can ensure that their transformed smile looks its best just in time for picture day! Here are some tips to help them stay on track with wearing and cleaning their aligners.
Eating Lunch with Invisalign
While Invisalign treatment does not have any dietary restrictions, it still makes eating a little more complicated. Clear aligners must be removed while eating or drinking; the only exception to this is drinking regular water. Your teen should bring their retainer case to school so that their aligner can be stored properly during lunch or snacks.
Each clear aligner is intended to be worn for about two weeks before the patient switches to the next one. Each new set shifts the teeth a little further into better alignment, meaning that switching to a new one can be uncomfortable at first. If your teen experiences pain or sensitivity in their teeth when switching to a new aligner, try packing their lunches with soft foods like yogurt, oatmeal, soup, or smoothies.
Staying on Top of Oral Hygiene
Practicing excellent oral hygiene is especially important when wearing Invisalign. Food particles trapped between the teeth and the aligners can become breeding grounds for bacteria, so it is paramount that you teach your teen to keep their teeth and aligners clean. Patients should brush and floss their teeth after every meal before reinserting their tray, so teens should bring an oral hygiene kit to school with a toothbrush, toothpaste, and dental floss or floss picks. They must also rinse the aligners each time they are removed and clean them once or twice daily by brushing them gently with toothpaste.
Wearing Them as Instructed
Invisalign clear aligners only work if the patient wears them, and it is recommended that teens wear them for twenty-one hours a day. While Invisalign aligners are much less conspicuous than traditional braces, they do have some noticeable effects, and teenagers may sometimes fall short of wearing them enough because they can be self-conscious about doing so around their peers.
Wearing aligners can give a teen a temporary lisp they may find embarrassing. Your teen could get rid of the lisp more quickly by practicing enunciation with words they find especially difficult. Invisalign can dull the natural white color of the teeth, particularly if your teen is not practicing proper oral hygiene. This can be helped with dental whitening products and treatments.
Invisalign can be a lot of work, but the result of a straighter, healthier smile is well worth the effort. With a little preparation and understanding, your teen should be able to practice good Invisalign habits while at school and have a beautiful new smile in the not-so-far future.
About the Author
Dr. Reema Dhingra graduated with her DDS from the Tufts School of Dental Medicine in 2007 before earning her Orthodontic Certification from the Tufts School of Orthodontics in 2009. She serves as a member of the American Dental Association, the American Association of Orthodontists, the New England Society of Orthodontists, and the Yankee Dental Congress. Her practice provides both pediatric dentistry and orthodontics such as Invisalign treatments. For more information on helping your teen succeed with Invisalign, contact her office online or dial (508) 832-6278.
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