8 tips to prepare your child for braces

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8 tips to prepare your child for braces

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If your child is about to start orthodontic treatment, chances are they’ll have a lot of questions. What will braces feel like? Will they hurt? Will they still be able to eat their favorite foods? What will their friends say?

It’s important both you and your child go into the treatment journey calm and confident. Here are tips to help you prepare your child for getting braces, and put them at ease about the process.

1. Discuss treatment options with your child

There are plenty of options out there when it comes to orthodontic treatment in rely dental, but it’s best to talk to your orthodontist about the most suitable options and treatment plan for your child. Usually, metal braces are the best option for children and teens. As well as being reliable, they’re also a cost-effective way to straighten your child’s teeth, and your child can customize them with different colors.

Having an open discussion with your child about why they need braces and what it will achieve. Do some research together and encourage them to ask the orthodontist questions about the treatment plan and why it’s the best option for them.

2. Talk through what they can expect before their braces are fitted

It’s perfectly normal for children to feel nervous about having braces fitted. For starters, it’s likely to be the longest amount of time they’ll have ever spent in a dental chair! You can ease some of their nerves by letting them know that fitting metal braces is a very straightforward procedure. The small brackets are glued to their teeth and then connected with a thin wire before colorful elastic o-rings are placed over the top (if they want). They’ll need to come back for appointments with the orthodontist to have the wire adjusted, which will gradually straighten their teeth.

Your child might be worried that having their braces fitted will be painful. While they may feel a little discomfort while they’re getting used to the brackets, this will only last for a couple of days.

3. Stock up on soft foods

While having braces fitted shouldn’t be painful in itself, the light pressure the braces put on your child’s teeth might cause them some mild discomfort for the first couple of days. Soft foods like rice, pasta, ice cream, yogurt or mashed potato, and liquid meals like soup will help to keep their energy up without having to chew too hard during the initial settling in period. Chilled foods also have the added benefit of soothing sore mouths, especially if the bracket starts to rub, so make sure your fridge is well-stocked!

4. Have plenty of orthodontic wax on hand

While your child gets used to their braces, the brackets might irritate or cause sores on the inside of their mouth. Orthodontic wax (also known as ‘braces wax’ or ‘dental wax’) is an easy way to make your child’s braces more comfortable. Simply roll it in your fingertips to soften it, and then press it onto the part of the bracket that’s causing the problem. The wax will form a protective layer that stops the bracket from rubbing.

As well as keeping it on hand around the house, it’s a good idea to give your child their own supply. That way, if their brackets cause discomfort while they’re at school, playing sports or with their friends, they’ll be able to deal with it quickly and independently. Your orthodontist will usually provide as much wax as you need free of charge.

5. Focus on the benefits of braces

While a year or two might not seem a long time to adults, for a kid it can seem like forever. Gentle reminders that wearing braces is a temporary measure can help to build your child’s confidence. If your child is frustrated by the amount of time they’ll need to wear their braces, let them know that braces are meant to be a permanent fix, not a quick one. The main thing is that they know it’ll all be worth it in the long run when they have straight teeth and a confident smile!

6. Make it easy for your child.

If you make your child’s adjustment to life with braces as easy as possible, they are more likely to be compliant with their orthodontist’s instructions and to have a great result at the end of the treatment. This might mean buying them an electric toothbrush that makes it much easier to clean their teeth and braces.
Providing them with meals that they can actually eat without breaking their orthodontist’s rules is another great way to help them stay on track. Taking the time to help your child adjust to braces and making it easy for them means that at the end of it, you are going to see a much better return on the time and monetary investment you have put into those braces!

7. Listen to their concerns.

Braces can make your child feel uncomfortable and embarrassed. Listening to their concerns and find a way to help them deal with those concerns is essential to help your child adjust to braces. Specifically, if they are afraid that they are going to be made fun of, remind them that most of their friends are wearing, have worn, or are going to wear braces in the near future. If they are dealing with a bully that will not leave them alone because of their braces, do not be afraid to escalate the problem by talking to that bully’s parents or getting the school involved. Most of all, encourage them to continue to pursue their interests, even if they feel a little embarrassed or uncomfortable while wearing their braces. Life with braces should be essentially the same as life without braces, especially when it comes to extracurricular activities and to their social lives.

8. Help them with their cleaning routine.

Even if your child has always been diligent about brushing their teeth, you might notice that they become less and less diligent when they have braces. This is because braces require a lot more work for your child than not having braces does. They will often have to use special brushes in order to clean in between the wire and their teeth and around the brackets. This can be a time-consuming and boring process, one that might be abandoned in favor of a little more sleep at night or in the morning. Encouraging your child to stick with their cleaning routine is the best way to help them make it a part of their daily habits.

Braces can be no fun sometimes. Even as an orthodontics office, we can admit that. While it might be fun to pick out colors for your elastics and many improvements have been made for the comfort of braces, there is certainly going to be an adjustment period for your child when adjusting to braces. Life with braces is very different from life without braces.

We love our patients and love to help them form healthy dental life that will last them a lifetime. For more information call us today to answer all of your questions so get an appointment today.

Dr.Alolabi
Dr.Alolabi
Dr. Alolabi is a member of the American Association of Orthodontist, and the Texas Association of Orthodontist.

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