What Teens Should Know About Clear Aligners - Thomas Orthodontics

What Teens Should Know About Clear Aligners

Teen holding invisible clear aligners.

Clear aligners are becoming more and more popular with teens who want straighter teeth without the visibility and restrictions of traditional braces.

If you’re a teen considering aligners, or a parent exploring options, here are some things you should know about clear aligners and how they can fit into a teenager’s life.

What Are Clear Aligners

Clear aligners are custom-made, transparent plastic trays that fit tightly over the teeth. The aligners apply gentle pressure to shift teeth into the desired position over time. Unlike braces, these aligners are removable, allowing for easier eating, brushing, and flossing.

Clear Aligners for Teens

The discreet nature of clear aligners is a significant appeal for teens, who may be self-conscious about wearing metal braces. This option allows for a more unnoticeable treatment, making teens feel more confident in social situations, photos, and daily life. Moreover, because aligners are removable, they offer dietary freedom that metal braces do not. Teens can eat whatever they like without worrying about causing problems with their braces.

What Teens Should Know First

Here are some important pieces of information about aligners that you should know before committing to treatment.

What is the Treatment Process?

Treatment starts with a consultation. We will assess your dental structure and discuss the feasibility of aligners for your specific needs. The next phase includes taking scans of your teeth shape to create a series of custom aligners. The aligners will be fabricated and you will wear each set for approximately two weeks before moving onto the next.

Commitment is Required

For effective treatment, aligners must be worn for at least 22 hours a day, only being removed for eating, brushing, and flossing. This is 100% essential for keeping the treatment on track in order to achieve your desired results on time. Teens must be responsible enough to wear the aligners as prescribed and maintain good oral hygiene to prevent issues such as cavities or gum disease.

Regular Appointments are Needed

Clear aligners may not require quite as many appointments as braces since they do not need to be adjusted to work. However, that doesn’t mean you can neglect your appointment schedule. Regular periodic check-ups are still necessary to monitor progress and ensure the aligners are performing as expected.

Aligner Care is Important

It’s important to note that, while removable, the aligners must be carefully cared for. Losing aligners or failing to wear them for the prescribed hours can delay treatment and potentially increase costs.

It is also possible for aligners to hold food particles next to the tooth surface, increasing the possibility of tooth decay. Make sure to clean aligners thoroughly as directed and maintain good oral hygiene habits. Never eat or drink anything other than water while wearing aligners. Rinse your mouth with water or brush before putting them back on after a meal.

Your Dental Insurance Could Help

Many insurance plans cover a portion of clear aligner treatments, so it’s worth checking your policy. Insurance may also help pay for certain aspects of your evaluation, such as x-rays. You may also be able to use HSA funds to pay for your aligners. Keep in mind that many orthodontists offer payment plans to help manage the expense.

Aligners Have Limitations

While clear aligners offer many benefits, they are not suitable for everyone. Severe orthodontic issues may require traditional braces for effective treatment. Additionally, the success of clear aligners heavily depends on the wearer’s commitment to wearing them as directed. Teens who struggle with responsibility may find this treatment challenging.

Are Aligners Right for You?

If you’re ready to take the next step towards a healthier, more confident smile, book an appointment with us today to see if clear aligners are the right fit for you!