July 11th, 2023

Orthodontic treatment is a common experience for many children and teenagers, but the idea of traditional metal braces can be intimidating for some. In recent years, Invisalign has become a popular alternative to traditional braces, but is it suitable for children?

In this article, we will examine the age requirements, treatment process, and potential outcomes of Invisalign for kids. We will also explore the benefits and limitations of this orthodontic option to help you determine if it’s the right choice for your child. Whether you’re a parent, guardian, or dental professional, this comprehensive guide will provide valuable insights into the world of Invisalign for kids.

How your Invisalign treatment is organized

Invisalign are clear plastic aligners that can be a good substitute for patients needing orthodontic treatment. Patients in Invisalign typically change their aligners every week. Every aligner comes in an individual package labeled with a number to help patients keep track of their aligners. Patients change them in numerical order every week as well.

There are no wire pokes or brace breaks with Invisalign

 One benefit of choosing clear aligners for kids or teenagers is that there are not going to be wires that break and poke at them like with metal braces. They would not be coming in that often to get a broken bracket or wire fixed since the aligner pops in and out of the mouth. The aligners being clear is also a big bonus for any teens that may be more self-conscious about their teeth. Invisalign are a more subtle orthodontic option compared to braces.

Invisalign and oral hygiene

Keeping their teeth clean and keeping up with good oral hygiene is another job Invisalign (and braces) patients have. An upside of being an Invisalign patients is that they can typically keep the same diet as they had before starting their treatment with Invisalign. Having braces means the patients may need to cut out some foods they used to eat that may not be good for the braces or wires.

Staying on schedule with your Invisalign

One drawback of choosing Invisalign over braces is that the patient must keep up with changing the aligners as instructed. It is a big responsibility to take on Invisalign since the patient is responsible for remembering to change their aligners every week and keeping track of what aligner number they are on. Braces are nice because once they are in the mouth, they stay there. Clear aligners require diligence from the patient since they take them out of their mouth when eating or drinking and then must remember to brush their teeth and put the aligners back in. 

Common Invisalign mistakes

Some patients accidentally throw out their aligners if they take them out to eat and put them on a napkin or something. The clear plastic blends in well so patients are always recommended to put the aligners back in the case whenever they are not in the mouth. If a patient is more forgetful or has a lot going on in their life, setting reminders on the calendar is a nice way to help remember when to change the aligners every week!

When most people think of orthodontics, braces are most likely to be the first thing that pops into their minds. While traditional metal braces are certainly a common option, clear Invisalign aligners are also a good choice for orthodontic treatment!


April 20th, 2023

Getting braces is a rite of passage for most children and teens (and even adults) in America, but there are a lot of questions that come with getting braces on: How do you brush your teeth with braces on? Better yet, how do you floss? Do braces hurt when they’re on? There may seem to be many unknowns when diving into the world of braces, but don’t fret: all these questions have answers and we are here to help you navigate them! 

In this article, we’re going to explain why you need to brush and floss with your braces, the importance of good oral hygiene, and simple steps you can take to ensure your oral health is as good as it possibly can be. 

The point of braces is to have a healthy mouth—don’t mess it up by getting cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease! Upkeeping proper oral hygiene is of the utmost importance, especially when wearing braces. 

Brushing your teeth with braces

Firstly, everyone should brush their teeth at least three times a day, but when you have braces, keeping good oral hygiene is even more vital to have healthy teeth and prevent bad breath, cavities, and gum disease. Patients with braces are encouraged to brush 3 times a day, after every meal.

Sometimes that is hard to do, especially at school or work so even just rinsing after lunch is a good stopgap until getting back to your toothbrush.  Using mouthwash is encouraged especially while in braces too! Using an American Dental Association approved fluoride mouth rinse in the morning and at night before bed will help your teeth and gums thrive. 

Arguably the most important thing to do to maintain good oral health and keep your braces nice and clean is brushing with an electric toothbrush.; Oral B is a great example of a reputable brand with models for kids and adults alike! 

Getting kids used to an electric toothbrush when they’re young will help instill good oral hygiene habits early on. Using a fluoride toothpaste is a great way to keep up with good oral health.

How to Floss with Braces

Flossing is also crucial for keeping debris and cavity causing plaque out of hard to reach places between teeth. The idea of flossing with braces may seem daunting, but using a Water Pik, floss threader, Platypus Flosser, or Superfloss can make it very easy to get in between the teeth and around wires of the braces.

If you don’t have a Water Pik to use, flossing with braces is perfectly fine! A floss threader is a tool used to help get floss in between hard to reach places, such as between teeth with braces on them. You can use the floss with your own fingers as well and just pull the floss under the wires between the teeth and floss away! If you are out and about and find yourself without floss, rinsing your mouth with water is helpful enough until you can get home and clean those spots properly. 

One of the most pressing concerns that comes with having braces is what to do if/when a brace breaks. A bracket may come loose, or the wire could pop out of the bracket if something excessively hard or crunch is eaten - for example (see our blog post Eating with Braces: Foods to Avoid and Foods to Eat for a more in-depth list). 

Braces don’t break just from brushing your teeth, but always call the orthodontist should a break happen or you start feeling pain from a poking wire. When a wire is poking, the orthodontist will routinely trim or bend the end for comfort.  Sometimes early on in treatment when more flexible wires are used, the end of the wire gets curled in behind the last tooth to prevent it from poking the inside of the mouth. 

Broken brackets take a bit more time than just a poking wire. When a bracket is broken or feels loose on the wire, definitely always call the orthodontists to see what to do. Repairing brackets is a longer process because you have to open all of the brackets on the arch (the top or bottom of the mouth), and remove the entire wire. Then you remove the broken bracket, clean and polish the tooth, and glue a new bracket back on. The wire then goes back into place and the doors of the brackets are all closed up!  

Getting braces doesn’t have to be as intimidating as some make it out to be. It is a big responsibility to keep braces nice and clean, but luckily now there are a lot of different ways to help patients keep their teeth, mouths and braces in tip top shape! 

When Should Kids Get Braces? How to Tell When It’s Time for Braces

April 6th, 2023

Every parent wants the best for their kids—it’s totally natural! You want them to have bright white, perfectly straight teeth and healthy, beautiful smiles. What if your child’s teeth are starting to look a little crooked or misaligned? How do you know when they’re old enough to get braces or some other form of orthodontic treatment? Are their mouths developed enough to begin braces? And are your kids mature enough to take proper care of their braces?

In this article, we’re going to answer these questions and more, and ease any worries you have about getting braces for your kids. You’ll discover that straight teeth brings self-confidence, better jaw function and health, easier-to-clean teeth, and most importantly happiness.  So, it makes sense to get braces as soon as you’re ready. We’ll explain when that is and help guide you through this new stage for you and/or your child!

Let’s first address the most asked question when a patient is considering getting braces for their orthodontic treatment: Do braces hurt? Like anything new, braces may feel a little uncomfortable when you first get them, but the soreness should only last (at most) a few days on average, but every patient’s pain tolerance is different. Taking pain relievers like Tylenol or Motrin can be a big help! Occasionally patients will get the wires in their braces upgraded to move treatment along so there can be some aching for a few days after that visit. It’s important to help assuage your child’s possible apprehensions about braces before considering when/if they’re ready to get them.

Regarding the question of WHEN they may be ready for braces or some other orthodontic treatment, that can vary from patient to patient as everyone grows and develops differently. A good rule of thumb and the recommendation from the American Association of Orthodontists is to start the conversation by booking a consultation when they’re around 7 years old. If a patient isn’t ready for any sort of orthodontic care, most will come back every 6 months or so to have observation checkups and further monitor their growth and development. In some cases, early orthodontic treatment can help prevent longer, more complicated orthodontic treatment when they’re older.

One way to tell IF your child needs braces would be to make sure they visit the dentist regularly—at least twice a year is recommended. Pediatric dentists can be a great indicator of when/if your child may be ready to see an orthodontist; they will tell you if your child is developing properly, if any teeth look are crooked, crowded or misaligned, or if their bite is off. They will also have an idea of how the adult teeth are coming in and will recommend going to see an orthodontist. Having your dentist there to ease you into starting the process can be a big help when trying to navigate the new world of orthodontia.

There are a few different kinds of braces to pick from when starting treatment: traditional metal braces, ceramic braces, and lingual braces which go behind the teeth. Then there are clear aligners like Invisalign that may be used as an alternative to braces for many patients.  You would need a consultation to see if your child is a candidate for any of these options, but it is always good to have a general idea of treatment options. Treatment time with braces varies between patients depending on their orthodontic needs and how compliant they are with taking proper care of the braces, but that question is addressed in the consultations when the child is first seen by the doctor so they can see exactly what each patient needs.

Getting braces can be an intimidating experience, but it doesn’t have to be! Listening to your pediatric dentist and being aware of your child’s orthodontic possibilities can make the entire experience much smoother for everyone. If you are comfortable with the treatment choices ahead, your child will be more comfortable too! If you are thinking your child may be ready for orthodontics, confer with their dentist or call to make a consultation appointment with an orthodontist! 

jersey choice dentist
Russell M. Sandman DMD, MS Osnat Kuyunov DDS Associate Doctor Michele Kaplan DDS Associate Doctor
500 Piermont Rd
Closter, NJ 07624
(201) 768-4121