The start of a new school year has anticipation, fresh notebooks, and the promise of new beginnings. For many students and parents, it’s also presenting a new question — What does back to school with clear aligners look like? Our team at KBL Orthodontics is here to help put you and your child at ease.
Why Choose Clear Aligners For Your Student?
Clear aligners are a modern alternative to braces, offering more subtly and flexibly. KBL Orthodontics is proud to offer 3M Clarity and Invisalign for kids, teens, and adult patients in Dothan, Alabama.
Like braces, clear aligners apply gentle pressure to slowly guide the teeth into their desired positions. Unlike braces, however, clear aligners don’t use brackets or wires. Instead, they use removable, custom-made transparent trays. Because the trays can’t be adjusted the same way a wire can, patients receive a collection (or series) of slightly different trays. The difference in shape is what moves the teeth along their movement path! Each one is worn for roughly two weeks before you move to the next in the set.
Clear aligners are an excellent choice for students because…
- your child won’t need to change their oral hygiene routine or diet.
- the Invisalign compliance dot means you can ensure your teen is actually wearing their trays at school.
- they pose less injury risk to athletic teens.
- of easy maintenance.
- they can remove the aligners for class presentations or important photos, such as a driver’s license.
Benefits Of Starting Before The First Day Of Class
Starting clear aligner treatment during the summer offers several advantages for students. The initial days of adjusting to the aligners can be done at home, allowing your child to become comfortable without the hustle and bustle of school. This period also supplies the opportunity to establish a routine, helping them wear their aligners for the recommended 20 to 22 hours per day. By the time school rolls around, they’ll be well-acquainted with the care process and adjusted to speaking with the aligners. Plus, beginning their orthodontic journey in the summer means they’re one step closer to a smile they want to show off for their yearbook picture or graduation day.
Dr. Lewis’s Declassified Clear Aligners School Survival Guide
Our Invisalign and 3M Clarity clear aligners are not known for complicating the life of their patients; however, we have some tips we’d like to share that will help your child be as comfortable as possible at school. We want them to focus on their education, not their orthodontic treatment!
Packing the Essentials
Here are some items we recommend your child has in their backpack to incorporate their aligners into their day hassle-free.
- A case to store their clear aligners when they’re not wearing them, like at snack or meal time. Cases keep their trays safe and clean.
- A travel-size toothbrush and toothpaste so they can clean their teeth after eating before putting their aligners back in.
- A reusable water bottle keeps your child hydrated. A hydrated child is less likely to develop dry mouth, a condition that can make wearing their aligners uncomfortable. Water consumption also keeps their breath and aligners smelling and tasting fresh.
- Orthodontic wax for when the aligner irritates the cheek or gums. Discomfort is more likely to occur when your child adjusts to a new aligner or if their aligner is damaged somehow. Whatever the reason, orthodontic wax can keep them comfortable.
KBL Orthodontics suggests a small bag to put in their backpack so children can find what they need quickly.
“Bonus” tips for clear aligner students:
- A reminder on your child’s phone or device can prompt them to wear the aligners after scheduled meals or breaks so they don’t forget.
- Equip your child with knowledge about their aligners so they can respond to classmates’ questions. Sharing the benefits can make them less self-conscious and encourage other children to want treatment for their smiles!
- Inform their teachers or school about their aligners. An informed support system can help your child remember to wear their aligners, give them time after lunch or snacktime to clean their teeth, and maybe provide relief (such as an ice pack) when your child is uncomfortable.
What Their Day Will Look Like With Clear Aligners
To show you how non-invasive Invisalign and 3M Clarity clear aligners are to your child’s routine, we’re going to walk you through Thomas’s day. Thomas is a teenage clear aligner patient.
In the morning, Thomas removes his clear aligners and carefully cleans them using gentle toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush separate from the one he uses for his teeth. After thoroughly rinsing them with room temperature water, he sets them aside to dry completely. While he waits, he performs his regular oral hygiene routine. He wears his dry aligners after breakfast and heads off to school.
Thomas wears his aligners without issues until lunchtime when he places them in his case so he can eat. He doesn’t have to worry about what the cafeteria is serving because clear aligners do not have food restrictions! After lunch, he quickly rinses his mouth and brushes his teeth in the bathroom before wearing the aligners again.
He keeps them in during band class, though he could take them out if needed. After school, he replaces his aligners with a mouth guard during sports practice and switches them out again after. Thomas felt great during practice because he could drink water all day without removing his aligners.
Of course, he removes the aligners for dinner and wears them again until he is ready to perform his nightly routine, which mirrors his morning one.
Did you notice how the only real change to his day was removing them to eat and perform oral hygiene? Clear aligners allow your child to straighten their smile without rearranging their schedule.