I’m documenting my daughter’s and my experience with Invisalign clear aligners. I’m a member of the Invisalign Mom Advisory Board, and we’re receiving complimentary treatment as part of the program.
One of Invisalign’s advantages over braces — that you can remove the aligners while you eat — can also be its downfall, especially for kids in school.
While traveling with Invisalign is easy with a little preparation, school poses more of a challenge:
- Aligners need to be removed before eating; tricky when there’s no privacy.
- Aligners are easy to lose.
- Kids need to clean their aligners and brush their teeth after eating.
I’d expected that navigating the school day with Invisalign would be the hardest part of treatment for my daughter, who’s in middle school. She eats slowly (so uses every minute of her lunch period), and she’s prone to misplacing things (sigh).
But, so far, it has gone pretty well. She has been exceptionally responsible and flexible, and says that Invisalign at school is “no big deal.”
I asked my daughter to answer a few questions about how she manages her Invisalign at school. Here’s what she told me:
Q: Where do you go for privacy when it’s time to remove your aligners?
A: My friends don’t mind if I take my aligners out in front of them. I don’t make a big deal about it…I just turn around and pop them out. It only takes a moment, so you could also just face a corner and do it quickly while no one’s looking.
Q: What do you do with your aligners while you’re eating?
A: I either wrap them in a napkin or put them in the case. But sometimes the case is in my locker, so I just put them on a napkin or paper towel.
Asha here: DANGER WILL ROBINSON! Wrapping practically invisible plastic aligners in a napkin is the easiest way to lose them or accidentally throw them away. But it’s working for her…for now. I’ll keep you posted.
Q: Is it weird to brush your teeth at school?
A: Not really. Kids with regular braces brush their teeth, too. I have a little travel toothbrush and toothpaste I keep in my bag. It’s a bummer having to cut my lunch short to do it.
Asha here: my daughter is exceptionally mellow and hard to embarrass. Some kids might find the whole brush-teeth-at-school situation a lot harder. If you’re trying to decide between braces and Invisalign, talk with your kid about this.
Q: How do you handle classroom snacks?
A: If it’s not a good snack, I’ll skip it. Otherwise I take my aligners out, eat my snack, and then get a pass to go rinse my mouth out in the bathroom. I don’t brush my teeth every single time I eat something.
Asha here: Neither do I (brush every time). Our orthodontist grudgingly said that’s ok, but he doesn’t recommend it. If bits of food or sugar get stuck in the aligners and sit next to the teeth all day, it’s a recipe for decay. And bad breath, which is a social killer at school!
Q: Have you got any more tips for wearing Invisalign at school?
A: Keep all of your Invisalign stuff in a little bag so it’s all together. Don’t be surprised if your friends want to see your aligners or ask you questions. If you don’t make a big deal about it, your friends won’t either.