Did your teen recently decide to straighten their smile with Invisalign aligners? Before they start their first treatment tray day, take a look at what your teen needs to know about invisible aligners, care, and daily maintenance.
Do Take the Aligners Out Before Meals
Unlike permanent traditional metal wire and bracket-style braces, clear aligners are removable. This means your teen can remove the tray before they eat. Failure to remove the aligners before your teen eats could result in damage or staining. A sharp piece of food could pierce the aligner and dark drinks (such as coffee, dark juice, red drinks, or soda) might stain the clear trays.
Don't Forget About Regular Dental Care
Aligners can trap leftover food debris against your teen's teeth or gumline. This can lead to plaque buildup and dental decay. To combat this potential oral issue, your child should keep their teeth clean. Regular at-home care and maintenance is just as important for teens who wear aligners as those who don't.
To reduce the risk of decay or gum disease, your teen should brush their teeth and floss after meals and snacks but before they replace their aligner trays. They should also brush after drinking sugary beverages, such as soda, fruit juice, or sports drinks. If your teen doesn't have a brush and floss available, they should rinse thoroughly with plain tap water. This can help to remove debris and wash away leftover cavity-causing sugar.
Teens should also brush their teeth in the morning when they wake up and at night before bed. To make the most of this type of maintenance, your teen should brush for at least two minutes.
Along with at-home care, your teen should visit the dentist regularly. Your teen doesn't just want a straight smile. They want straight, bright, decay-free teeth. Routine check-ups and cleanings can help to keep your teen's teeth healthy while they use the aligners and afterwards.
Do Rinse the Aligners
Your teen needs to rinse more than their mouth after meals. They should also regularly rinse the aligners with clear water. While this won't completely clean the trays, it can wash off surface debris and some microorganisms from your teen's mouth. Your teen should also rinse the aligners after a deep cleaning or brushing session. A thorough rinse helps to remove leftover cleaner or toothpaste.
Don't Skip Daily Cleanings
A quick water rinse may not remove bacteria and stuck-on debris. Your teen should follow the dentist's or orthodontist's daily cleaning directions. This may include a soak (with a denture cleaner or a specialized aligner cleaning product) and gently brushing the inside and outside surfaces.
For more information, contact a clinic like Oak Ridge Dental Arts.