How to Help Your Teen Care for Their Clear Aligners

How to Help Your Teen Care for Their Clear Aligners

Clear aligners are a great way to straighten teeth and create a dazzling smile that will boost your teen’s confidence. And if you’ve chosen this method for your son or daughter, they’ll love the discreet nature of the nearly invisible corrective trays.

But to keep them see-through and performing well, there are few things your teen should do to take care of them properly. 

Our team at LM Orthodontics in McLean, Virginia, specializes in all types of corrective oral devices, including traditional braces, clear braces, and clear aligners — both Invisalign® and 3M Clarity™ Aligners. We know a thing or two about how to get the most out of these treatments, and here, we’re sharing some practical tips that will help your teen care for their new aligners and protect your investment, too.

1. Take them out

Clear aligners are pretty durable, but they weren’t designed to handle chewing. Make sure your teen takes their trays out at mealtime to prevent breakage.

What’s more, eating with your trays in allows food to get trapped between the teeth and the appliance, which is the perfect recipe for bacterial build-up, gum disease, and tooth decay.

This goes for beverages, too. Take the trays out whenever you drink anything other than water.

2. Rinse them off

When you remove the trays, they have a bit of saliva covering the surface. It’s important to rinse this off right away so it doesn’t dry there and cause discoloration.

3. Put them in their case

Get in the habit of putting your aligners in their hard protective case every time you remove them. It’s tempting to set them on the table, wrap them in a napkin, or drop them into a purse or backpack, but in our experience, this is the most common cause of loss and damage.

4. Clean your teeth

After you eat, you have food and bacteria on the surface of your teeth that will build up and cause damage to your teeth, gums, and aligners if you don’t get rid of them. So, in addition to your daily routine of brushing and flossing, you’ll need to incorporate a few more brushing sessions throughout the day (after every meal). 

It’s a good idea to have a portable kit with a small toothbrush on you at all times, so you can take care of business at school, work, or at restaurants.

5. Put them back in

Remember that the clear aligners need to be in the mouth for at least 22 hours every day. That allows 2 hours total outside the mouth so you can eat meals. But since this is the honor system, you may need to remind your teen to return the aligners to their mouth as soon as possible.

6. Clean your aligners

Brush your aligners when you brush your teeth, but don’t use toothpaste. Just a soft-bristled brush and some cool water will do the trick and get rid of food particles and plaque build-up.

It’s also a good idea to soak your aligners once a day in a specially formulated cleaner made for your aligners or a solution of vinegar and water (equal parts). The best time to do this is during one of your meals so you can allow them to soak for about half an hour.

When cared for properly and worn as directed, clear aligners can solve a long list of misalignment problems. If you have questions about your teen’s clear aligners or want to see if they’re a good candidate for this discreet and highly effective treatment, make an appointment using our online booking tool or call us at 703-498-2047 today.

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