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Helping a Teen Take Care of Their Aligners

Helping a Teen Take Care of Their Aligners

Teenagers who need their teeth straightened are choosing clear plastic aligners (such as Invisalign®) instead of metal braces in increasing numbers.

Aligners offer the significant advantage of not being nearly as noticeable or bulky as braces, but caring for them can be trickier, especially with teenagers.

Here at Smile Design Manhattan in the Midtown West neighborhood of New York City, we’ve offered Invisalign to our teen and adult patients for many years. Here are a few tips to help your teenager care for their aligners.

Establish a good routine

Good oral hygiene is important — that doesn’t change just because your teen wears aligners. Make sure they stay consistent with brushing and flossing each day. (This may seem obvious, but they must remove the aligners to do this.) 

They should also get into the routine of cleaning the aligners daily. The easiest way is to gently brush the trays with a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste to remove any debris or food stuck to the trays. Then, rinse them with lukewarm water. 

They can also soak the trays in clear mouthwash to clean and disinfect them.

Follow the schedule

Along with the box of aligners, the orthodontist or dentist gave your teen a schedule for wearing them. In most cases, the trays change every 1-2 weeks.

Each new set of aligners moves their teeth slightly closer to the intended position, so they must stay on schedule to get the best results.

Tip: Don’t throw the old trays away. Your teen should hold on to each set in case they lose one. Having an old set handy gives them something to wear until it’s time to change to the next set, helping them avoid losing any progress they’ve made.

Avoid eating with the aligners

Your teen should take out their aligners when they eat or drink anything other than water. Food particles and beverage residue can get stuck to the aligners, potentially leaving a bad taste in their mouth and discoloring the aligners so they’re not clear anymore. 

It’s a good idea for your teen to carry the aligner case provided to store the trays when they take them out. That also helps them avoid misplacing the aligners.

Stay consistent

Most aligners are worn at least 22 hours a day. That gives your teen time to eat and drink; they can also remove the aligners for special events. The key to getting the best results in the shortest time is consistently wearing the trays each day and caring for them properly.

If your teen is interested in clear aligners (or if they just need a professional teeth cleaning), our experienced team at Smile Design Manhattan is ready to help. Call our office at 646-278-4579 today or use the online booking tool to set up your appointment.

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