Braces are a common method of orthodontic treatment and are very useful in improving dental health by creating a straighter and attractive smile for your child. Apart from providing cosmetic benefits, straightened teeth, with the help of braces, are able to bite and chew correctly. Health problems like jaw pain, headaches, earaches, and sleep apnea can be alleviated if the teeth and jaws are aligned correctly. This orthodontic treatment is quite effective in correcting bite problems in the early stages while the teeth and jaws are developing.
Although braces have become a necessary part of many kids' lives, and more than 75% of children benefit from them, most teens are nervous and skeptical about getting braces. It is an unknown concept to them. They don't know what to expect apart from severe pain and looking like a mess. Although braces can seem like the end of the world to kids, it is important to keep your child reassured and happy between now and the day when they can bid goodbye to the braces forever.
Providing knowledge about braces to your kids can be very helpful. Also, there are braces with clear brackets to make them less visible. Some dentists also use replaceable braces every couple of weeks instead of performing painful adjustments. You can speak to your orthodontist and do a bit of research to find out more about them. You can also help your child focus on the long-term benefits that their dental braces will provide.
Your child will need consistent reassurance to cope with wearing braces, and bear some amount of pain and embarrassment that comes with them. You can reach out to your kid and support them in the following ways.
15 Make Your Child a Part of This Decision
Communicate clearly and openly with your child about the decision to get braces. Let them feel like a part of this decision, instead of feeling forced to do something. Let them choose the kind of braces they'd like to have by showing them options and giving them an idea of your budget.
14 Provide Information
There are fewer chances of your child resisting braces if they are well informed about the process. Choose a good orthodontist who is willing to work with your child to describe the entire procedure without overwhelming them and calmly addressing all concerns. Getting information is likely to ease the anxiety of your kid.
13 Incentivize Your Child's Effort
Think of ways to reward your kid for agreeing to wear braces before they begin treatment and during it. Perhaps you can offer a food they won’t be able to eat when the braces are on, or pick a non-food treat. Take them to a movie or throw a small party for friends to celebrate your child's patience with braces after they've put them on.
12 Help Your Kid Deal with the Bullies
The best advice you can give your child who might be facing trouble in school due to braces is to ignore the kids who are giving them a hard time. Explain to your child that he/she is not the first one to be wearing braces in school and certainly won't be the last. Eventually, the bullies are going to get bored and give up if they simply walk away from them.
11 Maintain a Sense of Normalcy
Dental braces could prevent your child from participating in sports or playing certain instruments. If that is affecting your child, have a word with your orthodontist and make sure you go through all possible options. Before denying your kid the fun they need, different equipment or attachments could help your child participate in activities that they enjoy.
10 Don't Compromise Hygiene Levels
Although both removable and fixed braces are commonly used, it is found that fixed braces tend to deliver better results and work constantly to reposition the teeth and jaws. However, it is necessary to maintain good oral hygiene when your child is wearing fixed braces as they are likely to trap plaque and food debris that can lead to other problems like decay and tooth enamel stains. If the food reacts with the bacteria in the mouth and the metal braces, it can bleach the teeth causing light spots to develop on them.
Encourage your child to brush their teeth after every meal. Make sure they have the necessary tools like a floss threader or an orthodontic floss recommended by your specialist. You can also get them into the habit of checking for any remaining visible food particles. If they're going for picnics or outings, add their toothbrush, toothpaste, and a bottle of water to their travel kit so that they can rinse their mouth properly after meals even while traveling.
9 Help Them With Food Choices
Your orthodontist is likely to provide you with a list of foods that must be avoided during your child's treatment. This will include sticky foods like chewing gum, dried fruits, and candies, as these can get attached to the braces and might be difficult to remove. Also, foods like nuts, popcorn, and hard candy, which are particularly hard, can loosen the brackets or break the wires and must be avoided. Encourage your kids to have healthy fruits like carrots and apples, which are a bit hard too, but can be cut into bite-sized chunks so they become easily chewable and don't damage the braces.
8 Ease Discomfort
When teeth move into new positions after the braces have been adjusted, the process can be painful and cause your child some discomfort. You can help your child by feeding them soft food. If required, ask your doctor for a simple painkiller until the child's teeth are accustomed to the new movement. The treatment might take a while, and to your child, it might seem like a lifetime. You will need to emphasize that the treatment will be over much sooner than they believe and they will be left with a beautiful, healthy smile which will last for life.
7 Go for Kid-Friendly Braces
Your child's orthodontist will suggest the appropriate kind of braces your child should wear depending on the condition of their teeth. Allowing your child to choose the option of wearing colored bands might cheer them up. Heavy metal braces may not be required unless your child has severe alignment issues. You can choose ceramic or invisible braces of your kids, which will have a lesser impact on their appearance. Invisible braces are best if your child is older. They are less noticeable as they are set behind the teeth. Invisible aligners are also an option and are removable for eating and brushing, but must be worn the rest of the time.
6 Make the Treatment Fun
Keeping the braces clean can be particularly daunting for your child. Kids get tired of having to brush and floss all the time. Buying a water flosser can make the process enjoyable and can be more efficient at getting food out of your child's braces. Your kid is likely to enjoy using it and it will be more effective than regular brushing. Make sure to keep wax dots around to cover the wires in the braces. They can sometimes rub and cause discomfort.
5 Explain the Rules Early On
Braces are worn for a number of years. Afterward, a retainer will be necessary. It is a good idea to talk it over with your child and set the rules early to avoid arguments later. They’ll have to learn not to chew on pencils, chewing gum, and most candy. Practicing good dental hygiene will be a must at all times. You'll have to explain the importance of wearing a retainer and being careful with it because replacements can be expensive. If your kid is a rebel, you can seek the help of your orthodontist. Kids might not listen to parental advice, but normally pay heed to what the orthodontist says. If your child understands and accepts the basic guidelines, you should be able to get through the braces stage without a lot of behavioral problems.
4 Use Orthodontic Wax
Most drugstores sell orthodontic wax. Make sure you pick one as soon as your child begins treatment. This wax can be placed on brackets and wires that cause sore spots on the inside of your child's mouth. This wax is quite harmless and can be used as much as needed to make your child comfortable. Teach your child how to apply the wax; they just need to squash it between their fingers and press onto the wire ends that are troubling them.
3 Help with Self-Consciousness
Kids often tend to feel extremely self-conscious about wearing braces. They even tend to find it humiliating, particularly if someone at school has been giving them a hard time for it. Remind your kid of all the celebrities who have worn braces in the past or are still wearing them. Famous faces with braces include Emma Watson, Prince Harry, and Tom Cruise. You can also mention to your child that wearing braces is extremely common and most intelligent people are not judgmental towards those who are receiving orthodontic treatment.
2 Remind Them of the Outcome
You'll need to keep reminding your child that this treatment is the means to an end, and how lovely they will look once the braces are off. Remind them that they are going to have an attractive smile at the end of the process, apart from healthy teeth. You can show them a couple of before-and-after photographs that demonstrate the difference braces can make. If your child is feeling very low about their personal appearance, take them for a new haircut or shopping for new clothes, or simply spend some extra time with them so they feel better. You can also help your child cope with braces by complimenting them on other aspects of their personality and encourage them to focus on these.
1 Accompany Your Child to Every Appointment
It is a great idea to go along with your kid when they have to visit the orthodontist for their adjustments. This will help you keep a track of how the treatment is progressing and you can also check with the doctor on any questions you may have. Your child is sure to appreciate your presence during this difficult time. By accompanying them to every appointment, you are likely to show them that you support them 100% in every step of the way towards improved dental health and a beautiful smile.
Remember, it might not sound like a huge deal to you, but for your child putting on braces can be a big change. It is, therefore, crucial that you prepare them for this treatment and help them adjust to it while it’s ongoing.