If your child is ready for braces or Invisalign® Teen, you might be wondering when to start orthodontic treatment? While, of course, our Naperville and Shorewood orthodontists offer care year-round, there are some key benefits of getting braces or clear aligners before the new school year kicks off.
Scheduling your child or teen’s orthodontic consultation this summer:
1. Gets the Longer Appointments Out of the Way
At our high-tech practice, innovations like self-ligating brackets, SureSmile® custom braces wires, Invisalign Teen and iTrack® virtual check-ins mean fewer in-person visits once orthodontic treatment is underway compared to conventional treatment options. The appointments patients do have are quick and easy.
However, leveraging these tools to create better smiles requires a thorough exam and diagnostics and personalized treatment planning. That’s why the first step in the process is a consultation, which takes about an hour. If your child wants to begin treatment right away, we can get started on the same day as the consultation. Getting braces put on also takes approximately an hour.
Completing the consultation and, for braces patients, the bonding appointment during the summer when schedules are more relaxed can make things easier. Plus, your child or teen won’t need to miss school. When fall rolls around, they’ll only have to come in for check-ups every eight weeks or so.
Bonus Time Saver: If your child or their siblings will be entering kindergarten, second, sixth or ninth grade in the fall, Illinois law requires they have a dental exam performed by a licensed dentist. Our sister practice, Innovative Pediatric Dentistry, is under the same roof as our Naperville office. We can help coordinate your consultation and back-to-school dental exam to save you a trip.
2. Allows Kids to Acclimate to Braces or Invisalign
Though our modern orthodontic treatments are more comfortable, when kids first start Invisalign Teen or braces treatment, their teeth can be slightly tender. It also takes time for them to get used to having an appliance in their mouth, and some patients feel like they talk funny for the first few days.
Getting Invisalign Teen or braces in the summer lets your child adjust to treatment without the added stress of schoolwork and extracurriculars. It also means they’ll go back to school feeling more comfortable and confident.
3. Gives Them a Chance to Become Pros at Caring for Their Appliance
While kids are home, or at least not juggling a jam-packed schedule, it will be much more manageable to establish good habits. By the time things are hectic again, caring for their appliance will be second nature.
Kids and teens with braces will have to avoid certain foods, such as anything really sticky, chewy or crunchy that could damage their appliance like hard candy, gummy candy, whole, raw apples and carrots, jerky, popcorn and nuts. If they have auxiliaries like rubber bands with their braces, it’s essential to wear them as directed for optimal results.
When it comes to Invisalign for kids and teens, there are no food restrictions. But patients may still have rubber bands. They’ll also need to wear their aligners for about 22 hours per day, take their aligners out before eating or drinking, use their Invisalign case and change to their next tray based on their treatment plan.
Having even a few weeks to get used to steering clear of crunchy and sticky foods, getting on a schedule with rubber bands and keeping tabs on Invisalign Teen aligners can go a long way. Once the behaviors are on autopilot, the distractions that come along with a new school year will be less likely to derail your child’s efforts.
4. Ensures They Have Time to Master Oral Hygiene
We recommend braces patients floss once daily and brush their teeth in the morning, after meals and snacks, and before bed. When flossing with braces, a floss threader or product like SuperFloss is necessary to maneuver the floss underneath the wires.
Invisalign Teen patients will remove their aligners before brushing, so oral hygiene is simple. But they will need to brush, or at least rinse their mouth out with water, and clean off their aligners before putting them back in after meals and snacks.
Once your teen gets the hang of keeping their mouth and aligners clean or brushing and flossing with braces, it will go a lot faster. While they’re honing their skills and getting used to it, it’s nice not to be rushing out the door to catch the school bus.
5. Lets You Set the Ground Rules
We have to say, the vast majority of our teenage patients are excellent at taking care of their appliances and their smiles during treatment. Even so, orthodontic treatment is an investment and you want to ensure your child follows the instructions and sticks to their treatment plan.
When they’re at school, you won’t be there to remind them to put their Invisalign Teen aligners in their case during lunch or to pass up the brownie with nuts in it. Laying out your expectations, explaining the importance of compliance and, depending on your child, using positive reinforcement will set them up for success.
No matter when your child starts orthodontic treatment, establishing ground rules is important. Doing it now, however, can give you a bit of a buffer before they’re on their own at school.
Start School With a More Confident Smile
There’s no one single best time to get braces or Invisalign, but beginning treatment when school is out can help your child have a smoother transition. To get started, book your child’s complimentary consultation with a Naperville or Shorewood orthodontist today!