One question that we get a lot at Orbach Orthodontics is: Do Invisalign and teenagers mix? We love this question and usually begin by showing examples of the many, many success stories we’ve seen over the years where teens have had amazing results with clear aligners! If you are a teen or are raising one and contemplating Invisalign, you have come to the right place!
Contrary to popular belief, we think that teens are super capable of taking great care of themselves and their teeth. Though they might need some support and reminders here and there, we think starting school with orthodontic treatment is a great way to kick off the school year! Keep reading to learn more about going back to school with clear aligners and how they might fit into your teenager’s lifestyle.
What Are Clear Aligners, Exactly?
Invisalign, more generically known as clear aligners, is an orthodontic treatment comprising a series of clear plastic retainers that fit over each row of your teeth. Many people enjoy Invisalign over other forms of treatment like braces because they are discreet and convenient. Depending on the type of oral health needs that each person has, some might require braces. However, most people can receive the treatment they need with clear aligners, so be sure to chat with Dr. Orbach about your options when you set up your free consultation appointment.
Aligners are also convenient because they don’t have to be on your teeth at all times. They are easily removable for eating, drinking, brushing, and cleaning, and you won’t spend your time weaving strands of floss around them like you have to for braces. This means that they are generally safer since there is less chance of bacteria and plaque growth, and tooth decay like there is with braces.
Because the effectiveness of aligners is dependent upon each patient’s compliance (meaning you have to be responsible for remembering to remove and care for the aligners yourself!) Invisalign works best for responsible teens and adults. Not losing your retainers, remembering to wear them, and keeping them clean are all important parts of the treatment, so be sure to discuss any challenges with the doctor before deciding on the best treatment plan!
How Does Invisalign Treatment Work?
As we described above, Invisalign comes in a series of retainers that you will change every week or two, depending on the doctor’s recommendations. You will continue to have office appointments every few weeks, where Dr. Orbach will observe your progress and make any shifts or changes to your retainers as needed.
You can expect to pick up each round of retainers at these appointments, and you will be responsible for wearing them consistently and changing them at the frequency suggested in order to shift your teeth according to the prescribed timeline. You will also need to ensure that you are wearing your retainers at least 22 hours per day, removing them only for meals and brushing!
Maintain Your Aligners
What’s really important when working with teenagers is to support them as they maintain their clear aligners, especially when going back to school. Here is our shortlist of the most important items to remember to help teens have a smooth and successful Invisalign treatment!
Wear as Instructed
Wearing your retainers as instructed is the most important thing you need to know when it comes to aligners. They need to be worn almost constantly, and forgetting to wear them for hours or days at a time will significantly slow down your progress. Keep those retainers in your mouth for the best results!
Keep Them Clean
Because they stay in your mouth so much of the time, retainers need to be cleaned just like your teeth. We recommend brushing them once per day with a gentle cleanser like hand soap and a toothbrush. After giving them a good scrub in and around the retainers, rinse them well, and they are ready for wear again! If you notice they are getting dark or dingey with buildup, ask our office for our recommendations on a good retainer soak that can help lift plaque or mineral buildup!
Floss and Brush Daily
Keeping your own teeth super healthy throughout treatment is really important as well. Make sure you brush twice daily in the morning and evening and floss at least once! The good news is that because you don’t have braces with wires and brackets to go around, your brushing and flossing routine should be a breeze!
Don’t Lose Them!
One of the biggest risks that we see with teens and their aligner treatment is accidentally losing their retainers. This often happens when they are out with their friends or at the cafeteria at school, and they take their retainers out to eat and wrap them up in a napkin. Then they accidentally throw them away at the end of the meal! The easiest way to prevent this is by carrying an extra retainer case in their backpack or school bag and discreetly slipping the retainers in there whenever they need to take them out for eating or drinking. It really is so easy and will keep them from falling behind in treatments!
Know When to Remove Them
While it’s important to wear your retainer most of the time, it’s also important to know when to remove them! Eating and drinking with retainers is a big no-no, so be sure to take them out and store them safely whenever you are chewing anything or drinking anything other than water. It’s a good idea to rinse your mouth after finishing your food or beverage to get rid of excess residue before your retainers go back in!
Go to All Your Appointments
Finally, don’t skip your regular appointments with Dr. Orbach! Not only will he be handing you the next round of retainers for your treatment, but he will also be assessing your progress and will be able to tweak and make small adjustments as necessary to support your success!
Trust Our Team With Your Smile!
If you or your teen are ready to get started toward a smile you will love, give us a call! Orbach Orthodontics is accepting new patients now, and we are eager to schedule you for your or your child’s free consult. If you are in Washington D.C. or Falls Church area, connect with one of our offices to get started!