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4 Back-to-School Braces & Clear Aligner Tips

clear aligner tips

Young girl wearing a mask and backpack while holding a tablet


It’s hard to believe it but it’s already back-to-school time again! The kids are back in the classroom and many are sporting fancy new hardware, like clear aligners or braces. If your kiddo recently started orthodontic treatment, you might be wondering how to help them ease into the school year prepared to take care of their teeth with confidence. Well, as your go-to orthodontist for kids in San Diego and Rancho Santa Fe, Dr. Melanie Orthodontics has got you covered. In this post, we’re giving you all the best braces and Invisalign clear aligner tips and tricks for surviving back-to-school season.


1. Plan Ahead for Braces-Friendly School Lunches


We’ve all been there: you or your kids woke up late and you’re scrambling to get everyone out the door to make it on time for drop-off. And to make matters worse, you completely forgot to make your newly braces-clad child’s lunch. One of the biggest adjustments for kids with braces (and their parents!) is learning what to eat with braces and, more importantly, which foods to avoid. That’s why we recommend reading up on braces best practices, and meal-prepping braces-friendly lunches, before sending your kiddo off to school.


The general rule of thumb is to avoid any hard, crunchy, sticky or chewy foods, and any foods you have to bite into (like corn on the cob or whole apples). So that means you’ll want to skip the chips, crackers and nuts, chewing gum or gummy candies, or dense breads like bagels or pizza crust. Why? These foods run the risk of damaging your child’s braces or getting stuck behind the brackets and wires, making it harder to maintain proper oral hygiene. Instead, opt for softer foods that are easy to chew and won’t get caught in your kid’s braces. Yogurt, smoothies, sandwiches on soft bread, bite-sized fruits, tofu and steamed veggies are all fantastic foods to eat with braces.


2. Build a Braces or Invisalign To-Go Kit


When you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment, it’s more important than ever to take proper care of your teeth. That’s because, once again, it’s much easier for food particles to get trapped beneath your hardware, becoming a breeding ground for harmful plaque and bacteria. Whether your child has braces or clear aligners, they will need to brush their teeth after every meal and snack (and floss once a day) to make sure they keep their teeth strong and healthy. We know this is easier said than done, though, especially when it’s up to your kids to stay on top of their own brushing and flossing. To make it super simple, put together an Invisalign or braces to-go kit — complete with toothbrush, toothpaste, floss and orthodontic wax — and throw it in your child’s backpack. That way, they’ll always have everything they need to maintain their oral health at school.


3. Always Keep a Mouthguard On Hand


Back-to-school season also means sports and P.E. are back in session. Fortunately, if your child has Invisalign, they can simply take their aligners out during practices and games. But if your child has braces, they’ll need to wear a protective mouthguard when playing any sports or taking part in certain physical activities. A mouthguard will keep their appliance and teeth safe, and prevent injury to the soft tissues of their mouth. Dr. Melanie can help you choose the best type of mouthguard for your child’s needs. And if your child does experience trauma to their face and their braces get damaged, don’t panic. Just give us a call and we’ll get you in for an appointment right away.


4. Schedule Orthodontic Appointments In Advance


Speaking of appointments, we highly recommend booking your child’s upcoming visits ahead of time. The school year has a way of getting very hectic very quickly. Between homework, extracurricular activities and playdates, it’s easy for schedules to get so busy that fitting in another appointment starts to feel impossible. And remember, we get extra busy at this time of year too. To avoid any delays to your child’s treatment, contact Dr. Melanie Orthodontics to pre-book their visits now!


How Much Are Braces in San Diego?


Now, if you have a child or teen who hasn’t yet started orthodontic treatment, you might be wondering how much braces or clear aligners cost in San Diego or Rancho Santa Fe. The exact cost of orthodontic treatment always depends on the complexity of your child’s case and how long their treatment lasts. When you visit our Rancho Santa Fe or San Diego orthodontist office for a free consultation, Dr. Melanie will assess your child’s bite and create a personalized treatment plan. From there, we’ll be able to give you an accurate figure.


At Dr. Melanie Orthodontics, we believe in complete transparency and will tell you the cost of braces or clear aligners upfront. There will never be any hidden fees or surprises. And to make braces or Invisalign more affordable for our patients, we’re happy to accept most insurance and offer flexible payment plans.


Have questions about how to prepare your child for back-to-school with braces, or ready to find out if braces or Invisalign is right for your teen? Contact Dr. Melanie Orthodontics today!

Dr. Melanie

Author Dr. Melanie

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