New 21st century orthodontic solutions
Â For the 21st century teen, a great smile isn’t just for school photos, it’s an everyday accessory that’s seen on their Facebook and MySpace pages, during IM sessions, on cell phones and more. It’s no wonder today’s tweens and teens want to put their best smile forward. So as a parent, how can you help?
First, understand that technology has made a big difference in teeth straightening for teens. Metal braces are gradually being replaced by more advanced, subtle options that are an ideal fit for kids’ active, social lifestyles — good news for teenagers who are already self-conscious about their appearance.
“Braces are dramatically different today compared to 10 years ago because today’s teens are far more socially aware, technologically savvy, face a greater degree of stress as they work to achieve educational goals and are involved in a variety of active sports and performing arts,” says Calif.-based orthodontist, Dr. David Boschken. “There’s no room for them to be sidelined with broken braces, or to even be distracted by the discomfort sometimes associated with fixed braces of any kind.”
Boschken explains that removable braces, like Invisalign Teen, are fast becoming a popular choice. The system uses a series of clear aligners made of lightweight plastic that sit smoothly on the teeth allowing for a more comfortable fit. Because the aligners can be removed, kids can eat, brush and floss as they would normally. Teens can smile with confidence while straightening their teeth since this treatment, unlike traditional metal braces, is virtually invisible.
Over one million people have made Invisalign their treatment of choice for achieving a beautiful smile. The new teen system adds special features that give parents peace of mind, like a blue dot wear indicator that is designed to fade from blue to clear, so parents can gauge whether their teen is wearing their aligners as much as they should be. Although the cost is about the same as traditional braces, the time savings can be invaluable for busy parents and teens with fewer office visits, no emergency trips for broken wires and shorter appointments.
Boschken offers some additional oral care tips to help active teenagers achieve and maintain a healthy smile:
1. Practice good oral hygiene now to reap long-term health benefits.
Help educate your teen about the risks of poor oral hygiene and gum disease, which has been linked to a range of serious general health conditions including heart disease, diabetes, cancer and low energy levels (not to mention bad breath). Make sure your teen brushes at least twice a day. Flossing is also important — especially in cases where teeth are crowded — to remove the plaque between teeth that is not removed with regular brushing. Finish with a fluoride mouthwash to help kill germs and keep tooth enamel strong.
2. Care for your braces.
No matter what type of braces your teen has, make sure they clean their teeth regularly to achieve the best possible results. Remind them to brush often and floss once daily between brackets for those with metal braces, or simply remove the clear aligners to brush and floss.
3. Visit the dentist regularly.
Even for today’s busy teens, it’s important to schedule regular dental appointments and teeth cleanings. Like adults, children and teens should visit their dentist every six months for a check-up. If your teen is experiencing any problems, more frequent visits may be necessary.
4. Visit an orthodontic specialist early.
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children have a check-up with an orthodontic specialist no later than age 7. Most patients begin orthodontic treatment between ages 9 and 16, but some problems may be easier to correct if treated early.
“Between school, sports, social media and friends, teenagers today want a great smile so they can make a lasting impression,” concludes Boschken. “From new choices in braces, to advanced oral-care products, today’s teenagers have more lifestyle-friendly options than ever before.”
To find an Invisalign Teen-trained orthodontist in your area, go to www.invisalignteen.com/healthysmile.
Courtesy of ARAcontent