With summer slowly approaching, a new school year is just around the corner! Are clear aligners on your supplies list? You may have friends in middle and high school who have begun their braces journey to a brand new, healthy smile. Traditional metal braces that get glued to your teeth for 24/7 treatment are no longer the top choice among teenagers. Instead, some opt for the more subtle option of clear aligners.
At Scott Edwards, DDS, we get it: being a teenager is complicated and can come with fluctuating confidence around peers. This widely available alternative of clear, nearly undetectable braces can be a great option to work on your smile without forcing you to stray too far from your comfort zone.
So, what are clear aligners, and how exactly do they work?
Clear aligners are a braces alternative in the form of multiple custom-made plastic aligners that allow your teeth to gradually straighten and shift over time, encouraging dental hygiene and giving you a healthy smile in return. Quickly becoming a popular choice, clear aligners allow certain freedoms traditional metal braces lack.
For example, there are no restrictions on what you can eat, meaning you can still enjoy chewy and crunchy foods without worry of discomfort.
These aligners are invisible to others in an effort to ensure confidence, something especially important at the beginning of a new school year. Aligners only apply a slight pressure (unlike the heavier pressure metal brackets use) in addition to being removable, allowing more ease throughout the process. Lastly, they grant you more time to enjoy yourself at school and with friends as they require fewer office visits to check up on your progress.
Clear aligners work effectively in most mild to moderate cases of realignment, requiring you to wear them at least 22 hours a day to be effective. The only time they can come off is between meals and drinking any drinks that are not water. This places a lot of responsibility on the wearer to keep them on as long as possible in order to get the best outcome possible. It is a great first step in proving your independent responsibility as a teenager.
Our team at Scott Edwards, DDS, is here to help you possess the best smile possible, so remembering to take care of your plastic trays is vital.
Everything you need to bring for proper clear aligner care
Maintaining good hygiene with your aligners in mind can be easy to overlook in a busy school setting surrounded by friends and peers. Still, it is a significant step to add to your daily routine to ensure the best results using them. Properly maintaining them outside your home may seem daunting, so let us make things a little easier for you by breaking down what you need to bring and how it will help with this shortlist!
First off, the obvious is your clear aligners. Additionally, bringing the case provided to you by Scott Edwards, DDS, will ensure they have a safe place to stay during mealtime. Your teeth will get the best results by keeping your clear aligners in for at least 22 hours daily. Forgetting once or twice will not be the end of the world, but failing to do so regularly will setback treatment and negatively alter your final results.
Next, you will need to bring a toothbrush and a tube of toothpaste. Removing your clear aligners before each meal and brushing your teeth before putting them back in is crucial. A gentle but thorough wash is necessary to ensure all food remnants are cleaned off.
Lastly, you may want to bring a small floss container to get rid of any pesky food bits left behind or stuck between your teeth. Some may be hiding from you, so a quick floss is better than none to avoid getting some food stuck in your clear aligners.
Leaving reminders for yourself to bring all the necessary items to care for your aligners may help you establish your routine early on. Once you get your clear aligners routine down, it will be like second nature to you! We recommend parents go over tips and tricks so your teen feels completely prepared to properly handle any potential obstacles that may come their way during the school day. Leave them confident in their ability to handle these situations and allow their independence to shine.
Properly Caring For Them At School
As we covered, clear aligners require the extra step of brushing after every meal to avoid any buildup between the plastic and your teeth. Your toothbrush and toothpaste are a must back-to-school item to bring in your backpack for a quick brush before returning to class. Dr. Scott suggests giving your aligners a quick clean as well to get rid of any bacteria that may be lingering. You will want to wait between five to 10 minutes before putting your trays back in to allow your mouth to self-clean any possible food left behind. This is a quick yet vital routine to add to your school day. Neglecting to brush your teeth after meals can quickly lead to tooth decay, a complication that would delay the teeth alignment process and require additional treatments.
Sometimes, your lunch period passes by too quickly, so a quick rinse is better than nothing if you are short on time. The only places your aligners should live are inside your case or your mouth. When you first receive your set, Dr. Scott will also give you a case to store your aligners when not in use and keep track of them without worry. The last thing you want is to place your aligners on a napkin and accidentally throw them out!
Get Your Clear Aligners Today!
Here at Scott Edwards Cosmetic and Family Dentistry, we want you to enter the new school year feeling confident and happy with your smile. If you think clear aligners are the right choice for you or have any questions that need answering, let us help you on the road to a happy, healthy smile to shine in your next yearbook photo! Schedule your appointment with us today!