Clear aligners are an effective and popular alternative to traditional metal braces, providing a comfortable and discreet way to straighten teeth. There a several reasons patients choose aligners over braces. But what many parents don’t realize is that one benefit of clear aligners is that they can help teach teens important life skills like personal responsibility, time management, oral hygiene, and financial responsibility.
What are Clear Aligners and How Do They Work?
Clear aligners are a modern and effective orthodontic treatment that uses a series of custom-made, clear plastic trays to gradually shift teeth into the desired position. Patients wear trays for most of the day, and for a set period of time, after which they switch to the next tray in the series.
Why are Clear Aligners Great for Teens?
Clear aligners offer several benefits that make them a great choice for teens. First and foremost, unlike traditional braces, clear aligners are practically invisible, making them a popular choice among teens and adults who are self-conscious about their appearance.
Additionally, they are comfortable to wear, which means teens are more likely to comply with treatment and wear their aligners as directed. Clear aligners can be removed for eating, brushing, and flossing, which makes oral hygiene easier to maintain. They also require fewer visits to the orthodontist than traditional braces, which is a time-saver for busy teens and their parents.
How Clear Aligners Teach Responsibility
Responsibility is a core value and an important life skill that all teens should learn. Clear aligners can help reinforce this value by encouraging teens to be responsible for their own treatment.
Unlike traditional braces, which are affixed to the teeth and require frequent adjustments from the orthodontist but little effort on the part of the patient, clear aligners are largely self-directed. Your teen will be responsible for keeping track of their aligners, wearing them as directed, and ensuring they’re cleaned properly.
By taking an active role in their treatment, teens learn the importance of personal responsibility and the benefits that come with being accountable for their own success.
Clear aligners also teach teens the importance of time management. To ensure the best results, patients must wear aligners for a specified amount of time each day. Teens must plan their day around their treatment, ensuring they have their aligners with them at all times and are wearing them as directed. This requires them to prioritize their time and develop good time management skills, which are essential for success in school and in life.
Oral hygiene is another area where clear aligners can teach teens responsibility. Because clear aligners are removable, teens must be diligent about brushing and flossing their teeth after eating and cleaning their aligners regularly. This reinforces the importance of good oral hygiene habits and helps teens develop a lifelong commitment to taking care of their teeth and gums.
Clear aligners can also help teach teens financial responsibility. Because clear aligners are a significant investment, parents may choose to involve their teens in the decision-making process when choosing a treatment.
Using orthodontic treatment as a teachable moment helps teens understand the value of money and the importance of saving and budgeting for important expenses.
Tips for Success
While clear aligners can be a powerful tool for teaching responsibility, as a parent can also take steps to help ensure your child’s success. Here are some tips for helping your teen develop responsibility skills when it comes to their orthodontic treatment:
- Involve them in decision-making: If possible, involve your child in the decisions about their treatment. List the pros and cons of braces vs. aligners and discuss what that means for them.
- Set clear expectations: Make sure your teen understands what is expected of them during their clear aligner treatment. Then hold them accountable for meeting those expectations.
- Provide support and guidance: Offer your teen guidance and support throughout their treatment schedule.
- Encourage Them to Ask Questions: Make sure your child knows to ask any questions they have at their initial consultation as well as throughout treatment.
Is Your Teen Ready?
If you think your teen is ready to start orthodontic treatment and have questions about clear aligners, don’t hesitate to schedule an initial consultation. We are ready to help your child succeed!