I am proud to say that I have all my own teeth at the age of 65. While that may not sound unusual to some people, everyone in my family who is my age or older wears dentures. I always tell people that that flossing is the key to good dental health. I have arthritis in my hands, but I don't let it keep me from flossing every day. My trick is to use those little "flossers" you can buy at the drug store. They have plastic handles floss stretched out on top of the handle. These make flossing easier on days when my arthritis is acting up. I started this blog to let other people know that they can keep their teeth healthy into old age when they take care of them. If you have hand pain, find ways to make flossing easier, like I did.
Braces have come a long way. No longer does everyone have to contend with a mouth full of metal. While Invisalign isn't suitable for everyone, these "braces" work by the use of clear plastic aligners that are custom made to fit your growing teenager's mouth. The plastic aligners, usually changed once a week, gradually shift the teeth, bringing them into alignment with one another, creating the perfect, straight smile. But just as with traditional braces, there are a few things you should be sure your teenager is aware of.
Most dentists and orthodontists want their patients to remove the plastic aligners before eating. While it may be possible to eat a soft food with them in, such as mashed potatoes, you would need to remove them after eating anyway as they would collect food particles. The goal is to improve your smile, not end up with cavities because your teeth were soaking in food! This would also quickly lead to bad breath and an unsightly smile. So make sure your child gets in the habit of removing the tray before eating, and then flosses and brushes his teeth before putting them back in immediately. Remind them that one of the big advantages of being treated with Invisalign is they don't have to limit what they eat as they would with traditional braces.
While it may seem harmless to drink something with the Invisalign liner trays in place, it's basically the same situation as food. The liquid will collect in the trays, and that's not good for their oral and dental health. Coffee, tea, hot chocolate and other hot drinks should be avoided as they can warp the mold of the Invisalign tray. Additional, beverages such as coffee and tea can stain the trays, tainting their smile. Carbonated beverages and fruit juices will hold sugar against the teeth, and even milk has lactose, also a sugar. Encourage your teenager to remove the Invisalign trays before drinking any beverage other than water.
With traditional braces, teenagers who were active in sports had to be careful with their mouth. Metal braces could easily cause damage to the gums and tongue if they had a direct hit, and fitting a mouth guard isn't easy. With Invisalign, they simply remove the device before playing sports and insert a mouth guard instead if playing contact sports.
Lastly, make sure they practice consistently cleaning their plastic aligners nightly as well as flossing and brushing properly. For more information, contact a dental office that offers Invisalign for teens.