Back-To-School Month: The Perfect Time to Start Clear Aligners for Teenagers

The beginning of every school year is a time of fresh starts and new routines. On the other hand, it can be a hectic season when parents are more than excited to send their children back to school for another successful year.

With so much to look forward to during the new school year, Orthosnap is an effective orthodontic treatment to get a picture-perfect smile without the embarrassment and hassle of traditional braces. Back-to-school month is an excellent time of year to encourage parents to start a new clear aligner treatment for their teens.

Why Orthosnap is a Great Option for Teens

Teenagers have a lot on their plates these days—extracurriculars, part-time jobs, and socializing with friends. Many teenagers worry about appearances and don’t want braces to restrict their busy, complex lives. Here are a few ways that Orthosnap can benefit teenagers:

  • Unnoticeable: Orthosnap’s patented process manufactures precise, aligners without the use of 3D printing. Our aligners are perfectly see-through without opaque striations and reduced measurement errors.
  • Comfortable: Orthosnap’s patented process produces aligners that fit snugly to the teeth for effective alignment. Without the need for cumbersome wires and brackets, Orthosnap is much more comfortable than traditional metal braces.
  • Unrestrictive: A perk of plastic aligners is that they can easily be removed and put back in. Teens do not have to give up their favorite foods or take time out from other activities, like sports and playing instruments. Young athletes with metal braces are at risk for serious injury if they forget to use mouthguards. Brass and woodwind musicians who use their mouths to play their instruments often go through an uncomfortable adjustment period. With Orthosnap, play on!

Ensure Compliance with the Orthosnap Difference

A common issue for all orthodontic treatments is patient compliance. It’s common for adolescent patients to struggle to meet treatment guidelines. . The Orthosnap system encourages patient accountability and compliance using unique, patient-centered methods, including:

  • Verification Key™: Most clear aligner companies create an entire set of aligners and directly give them to patients. Providing all aligners to patients at the beginning of treatment does not ensure that patients follow their treatment plan as prescribed. If this happens, patients end up with results that deviate from the original plan and may result in further treatment. Every eighth Orthosnap aligner must be fitted in the office to confirm treatment is on target. Verification Key technology ensures in-office monitoring about every 16 weeks. It also gives patients more appropriate and precise treatment, which often means fewer adjustments.
  • Step Financing: You get what you pay for with the Orthosnap system. There are no upfront costs, and patients pay as they go.
  • 24/7 Customer Support: If you need us, we’re here. Our customer support line is available all day, every day for patient and doctor-centric care.

Teen Candidacy for Aligner Treatments: Talking with Parents and Younger Patients

mother and teenage daughter walking by the ocean

Since compliance is key, it’s important to make sure the patient is on board. He or she has to be really on board in order for the treatment plan to work. If the patient isn’t deeply, truly intrinsically driven to change his/her smile, there’s a good chance those aligners aren’t going to get worn and the eating habits aren’t going to change.

Being able to spot a lukewarm patient can save you the headache of having an unsuccessful case or having to re-do the treatment plan mid-course. It can also save a parent thousands of wasted dollars and a damaged relationship with their teen.

Having an honest conversation about the daily routine changes required for clear aligner success isn’t just a box to check off during your treatment planning and patient intake. The outcome of that conversation and an honest commitment from the patient should really be a prerequisite to treatment.

Two Clients, Not One

In treating patients, we’re used to having one client make a commitment, financially and otherwise. We have a standard set of procedures and signatures required before we proceed with treatment. But with teens wearing aligners, you have to split that thinking into two clients and two messages.

A few tips that may help you help your teen patients and their parents:

  1. Don’t Start Treatment Until You are Convinced – Have the compliance talk as soon as a patient asks about aligners. It’s not right for everyone. Don’t even conduct an ortho assessment until the patient understands that it’s not an “easy” alternative to braces.
  1. Consider an Informal Patient Contract – If a parent commits to treatment, ensure that the patient does, too. A formal-looking patient contract to do X, Y, and Z will get any teen’s attention. Having your teen patient sign a commitment may help reinforce the message that a positive outcome is dependent on his or her actions.  Draw up a printed document for the patient to sign. It should promise that the patient will wear their aligners the full 20-22 hours per day, refrain from eating and drinking while wearing them, and follow the prescribed oral hygiene routine. Such a “contract” may not be legally binding, but it will help the parent/patient dynamic if compliance problems pop up. It may even pre-empt them.
  2. Treat Your Patients as Adults, Even if They Aren’t – They may not be the legal adult responsible for paying for treatment, but teen patients wanted to be treated as adults. If a patient isn’t wearing his aligners enough or is developing calculus and staining from inefficient hygiene, they’ll want to hear it from their doctor, not their parent.

Are some of these tips more parenting than clinical care? Yes. But that doesn’t mean they are outside your purview as a provider. If your heart and soul are committed to giving more people a healthier smile and a better life, they are small considerations to make.

Why Teens Love Clear Aligners

Teens prefer clear aligner treatments to traditional braces for the same reasons that adults do. They are less noticeable in appearance and more flexible when it comes to eating and cleaning the teeth. Beyond the basics, teens have other reasons for preferring the treatment.

They are perceived as less painful.  Having your wires tightened at the orthodontist’s office every month hurts. Young people know this because they have watched their friends complain of sore teeth due to braces. Most patients report clear aligners to be less painful, since the progression of changes to the aligners is more subtle.

They may feel like they will be teased less by their peers. One could argue that kids are more accepting of differences today than in the past. You probably won’t hear “brace-face” or “metal mouth” as jeers in many high schools nowadays, but traditional metal braces do make you look younger. That’s something no young adult wants if there is an alternative.

Clear aligners are easier for sports and other activities. Since clear aligners snap in and out quickly, young people appreciate that they can use their normal mouthguards for sports. This aspect is also appreciated by young performers who can remove aligners easily before singing, acting, or playing an instrument on stage.

They want to look their best before heading to college. Kids who have put great time and academic effort into gaining admission to their preferred schools want to be ready for this new phase of life. If a six-month course of aligners can correct their perceived flaws, they may be more inspired to seek treatment.

The “accidental diet.” Adolescence is a time of identity-building and appearance is a part of that. If you read online posts and videos from young people who are pleased with their aligner treatments, many of them view it as an added plus that their treatment forced them to change how they eat, which led to losing some weight. Many report less snacking and soda consumption, which has obvious health benefits.

Leveraging the Growing Teen Market for Aligners

How can dentists and orthodontists benefit from this growth in the teen market for aligner treatments? It can often be as simple as knowing of the opportunity it presents and starting conversations.

It’s been long known that “kids can’t use clear aligners,” and it’s also been long known to parents that standard orthodontic treatment cost less than aligner treatments. Due to these biases, parents may say “no” on impulse if they are unaware of the affordability and benefits of the treatment. If you aren’t already sharing the aligner option with your teen patients and their parents, you may be surprised by the difference an enlightening conversation can make.

Why Clear Aligner Treatment is the Best Option for Teens

traditional braces vs clear aligner treatment

#1 Barrier for Braces: Cost

We aren’t talking about heart surgery needed to save a life. Braces for teens are elective. Cosmetic. Even if your child’s imperfections cause a lisp or difficulties with eating. Many insurance companies don’t cover braces. Or they cover a small, limited portion. And many patients don’t have dental insurance.

Americans spend up to $6 billion annually on braces. Most of this is out-of-pocket. Aside from houses, education, and cars, it is one of the biggest expenses families face.

That’s why OrthoSnap decided to invent aligners that are not only superior but more affordable.

The average cost of metal braces runs around $4,000-5,500.

The cost of Invisalign® is anywhere from $4,500-10,000.

Orthosnap is generally less than $3,000.

As you read the other benefits of Orthosnap aligners, these cost savings will be even more apparent.

#2 Barrier for Braces: Impact on Daily Living

Metal brackets and wires are not removable by the patient. This can be a good thing for non-compliant patients, but what about teens who play sports?

Orthosnap aligners are removable. This benefit is huge for those who participate in sports. Especially those who participate in high-contact sports. But Orthosnap is also a much better option for those who play instruments or sing, as patients can remove the aligners for performances.

Imagine this: Your patient is a linebacker on his high school team. Will the mouthguard fit properly with braces? What if the mouthguard comes out? What kinds of injuries could you see with a full impact hit to a mouth with metal brackets and wires?

Now imagine the same patient with removable Orthosnap aligners. Patients should wear the aligners 22-23 hours a day. It would certainly be okay to remove them for a football game so they can safely wear a normal mouthguard.

With metal braces, it is too easy for food to get stuck in brackets and wires, and few teenagers master the added difficulties of flossing properly. The commitment to oral hygiene and avoiding certain foods are much higher with traditional braces. With Orthosnap, eating, brushing, and flossing occur with the aligners out.

Consider the day after Halloween—your patient has a bag full of chewy candy and is craving a piece. Or maybe it’s his birthday, and he’s on a date—and she wants popcorn. While it’s not advisable to remove Orthosnap aligners frequently to satiate bad habits, can you see the benefits of being able to break the rules on occasion?

And what about emergency visits? Even without popcorn, chewy candies, and contact sports, brackets come off and wires break, come loose, and poke. Orthosnap aligners eliminate these problems.

#3 Barrier for Braces for Teens: Pain

With each new adjustment, metal braces cause discomfort and tenderness for days.

The changes with Orthosnap aligners are more subtle. They straighten teeth gently, causing little to no pain.

Are you familiar with the wax orthodontists give their patients? The brackets and wires can poke and cause soft tissue injuries and sores. With the Orthosnap, there are no wires or metal to cause injuries. There is no need for wax.

There’s also no need for rubber bands. Anyone who has worn rubber bands understands the increased pain and pressure they cause. It is the number one issue regarding noncompliance. Not only are they painful, but teens also don’t like the appearance of the bands or the necessary hooks for them.

#4 Barrier for Braces: Appearance

Appearance is everything to most teens. While most teenagers are excited about the prospect of having a beautiful smile, few appreciate the process.

Metal braces for teens, while popular, can also burden the patient with unpleasant nicknames and keep them from showing their teeth when they smile. They are often embarrassed. They hate the nicknames. They also believe braces make them look younger. What teenager wants to look younger?

Orthosnap aligners are practically invisible. Most people don’t even notice them. There is no metal, no wires, no hooks, and no rubber bands. The aligners are clear, medical-grade acrylic.

For the few patients who feel others can see their “invisible braces,” the aligners can be removed for things like photographs and important events.

Bottom Line When it Comes to Teens and Braces

When given a choice, teens prefer “invisible” braces over metal for all the same reasons adults do. Less pain. Better appearance. Less intrusion in daily life. Flexibility.

Because so many people believe clear aligners are not appropriate for teens or they think they cost more than traditional braces, many parents may quickly say no on impulse.

Once you understand the answers to parents’ biases and help them see the benefits and affordability, you will be astonished by the reactions you receive. An educational, enlightening conversation may be all it takes to convert a potential patient into an actual patient.

At the completion of treatment, your patients will appreciate their beautifully straight teeth.

Interested in learning more about this exciting opportunity and getting your patients started on a new smile?

Contact us online or call (516) 506-7606 today to find out how you can become an Orthosnap provider. We offer free training and technical support and are a full-service manufacturer. We are available every step of the way.