Summer is wrapping up, and that means the first day of school will be here before you know it. Whatever your child’s daily routine has been for the past few months, it’s about to change dramatically, which could spell trouble if they have Invisalign. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to ensure that your teen’s treatment stays on track this school year so they achieve their straight smile right on time. Here are 4 simple back-to-school tips for your Invisalign teen.
1. Make sure they always have their case
Your teen will need to take their trays out every time they eat or brush their teeth (more on this in a bit), and one of the easiest ways to lose them is if they set them on a desk, table, or napkin. Because the trays are small and see-through, they tend to just “disappear” sometimes. That’s why you should always make sure your teen has their Invisalign case with them. Whenever their trays aren’t in their mouth, they should only go in the case, and this will make them easy to keep track of.
2. Put together a to-go oral hygiene kit
Normally, brushing twice a day and flossing once is enough, but for teens with Invisalign, they should clean their teeth after every meal and snack. This will prevent food particles from becoming trapped between their teeth and the trays, which can increase their risk of bad breath as well as cavities. If your child is primarily attending school remotely, brushing and flossing throughout the day is simple, but if they have in-person classes, make sure they have a travel oral hygiene kit with them. It should include a toothbrush, floss, toothpaste, and (maybe) mouthwash. Smaller items that fit into a backpack or book bag are easy to find both online and in stores.
3. Pack Invisalign-friendly lunches
Your teen’s school lunches can have a big influence on their oral health, especially if they have Invisalign. Try to avoid packing sticky foods that can’t be removed easily by brushing (like candies or dried fruit) or items that are laden with a lot of added sugar (sodas and fruit juices). Plain yogurt, chopped fruits and veggies, and cheese are all great choices because they promote healthy teeth and gums and can be quickly cleaned away with brushing and flossing.
4. Check out their trays
Each Invisalign TEEN tray has a small dot towards the back that slowly fades as it is worn. This helps both the teen and their parents know that the trays are being used for the right length of time each day. Every few days, make sure to look at these dots. Are they fading as expected, or are they sticking around longer than they should? If the dots aren’t going away, make sure to remind your teen that they need to wear their trays for 20-22 hours a day, otherwise, it will take much longer to reach the end of their treatment.
The start of the school year is a stressful time for both parents and children (especially these days), but by following these simple tips, you can have one less thing to worry about and know that your teen is well on their way toward a straight, beautiful smile.
About the Author
Dr. Jeffrey Shirck is a board-certified orthodontist based in Columbus, OH. As an experienced clinician and proud father of three boys, he knows just how hectic the beginning of school can be, so he’s always happy to help parents and teens to make sure their treatment progresses smoothly. To get more daily tips or ask questions about Invisalign TEEN, you are always welcome to give Shirck Orthodontics a call.