Clear aligners are a popular and effective way to straighten teeth – without the look or hassle of traditional braces.
Just like traditional braces, clear aligners put a small amount of pressure on the teeth to move them into place. Unlike traditional braces, they are made of a clear and completely removable plastic that you can take out during eating, brushing and flossing, or important events.
Clear aligners are made from digital molds of your teeth. A tray is made from the digital mold of your current teeth, with changes that target misalignment. Typically, you wear one aligner for one to two weeks until you advance to the next one. Each week, your aligner moves your teeth incrementally until you reach your perfect smile.
Clear aligners are best for minor misalignment of the teeth, while traditional braces might be better if you have severe misalignment, gaps, or bite issues.
Clear aligners for teens feature two elements especially made for their needs:
- Eruption tabs that make room for teeth that haven’t fully grown in yet.
- Compliance Indicators that track how often the aligner is being used. It must be used for 22 hours a day, or treatment will be affected.
Benefits of Clear Aligners for Teens
- A discreet look
Not only do clear aligners have a discreet look in the day-to-day, you are also free to take them out for prom or other special events.
- Easier for contact sports and playing an instrument
Both traditional braces and clear aligners can be affected by impact from contact sports, which can set back treatment. Conveniently, clear aligners can be removed before contact sports to avoid any potential issue. If desired, they can also be removed before playing an instrument.
- No food restrictions
Since clear aligners must be removed before eating, there are no food restrictions to what you can eat during treatment.
- Maintaining oral hygiene is easier
Clear aligners are removed before brushing and flossing, which make maintaining oral hygiene almost the same as before treatment. The main difference is that it is important to brush after eating, including lunch. If food is stuck in teeth, aligners won’t fit back in.
- Appointments are faster, easier, and never an emergency
Because there are no wires or brackets, if the aligner is damaged, you won’t need an emergency visit. Since aligners don’t require adjustments like traditional braces, appointments take less time. Appointments will be quick and occur every six to eight weeks.
Ensuring Your Teen’s Success
It’s important to keep a few things in mind while you are going through the clear aligner process.
- Compliance is key.
It’s important to wear your aligner for the majority of the day and night. Taking your aligners out too much or for too long will stall treatment.
- They can get lost.
At your appointment, you will be given a case to store your aligner while you brush, play a sport or instrument, or eat. They can easily get lost and accidentally thrown away if you’re not careful.
- The aligners must be cleaned regularly
It’s important to clean your aligners, and can do so with a brush and toothpaste, or with a denture cleaner solution.
- It’s especially important to maintain your oral hygiene
Aligners will push any food further into teeth and gum line, so it’s important to brush and floss after every meal.