For most kids, the prospect of braces isn’t fun. They are not the most comfortable, and most children do feel self-conscious. Life with braces can be a big adjustment. Unfortunately, a lot of children will need some form of braces as they get older. However, if your child is going to need braces, then there are some things that you can do to make the transition as smooth as possible.
Read on for more.
Assess Your Options
The first thing that you can do is to discuss the options with your child. Historically the options for teeth alignment were very limited, but not anymore. Depending on your child’s teeth, you may be able to find an option that they are more comfortable with. There are the traditional metal braces, ceramic braces, lingual braces or clear aligners. Arguably clear aligners are the least invasive, and sometimes they are the easiest and cheapest option. For example, Alignerco can provide clear aligners without you ever having to step foot in a dentist’s office. You first get an impression kit through the mail, you take the impressions and send them back; a team of experts then create your plan and send the aligners back to you.
Listen To Their Concerns
Open a dialogue with your child. Braces can cause embarrassment and affect your child’s self-confidence. By listening to their concerns, you can help them find a way to deal with their feelings. For example, they might be worried that they are going to be ridiculed or made fun of, or they might be a victim of bullying because of their teeth anyway. If this is the case, you should remind them that a lot of their friends will likely need braces at some point, or they might have friends who already have braces. If they are experiencing bullying, you can offer to talk to the school or the bully’s parents. Above all, you should encourage them to continue to pursue their interests. Life with braces should be almost exactly the same as life without braces. Some children simply need reminding of that.
Remind Them Of The End Goal
While braces aren’t necessarily fun, they are there for a reason. Talking about the end goal of the braces can help your child to come to terms with the idea. Braces do serve a purpose beyond simply the look of their smile, although that is part of it. Braces improve your overall oral health; straighter teeth are easier to clean, which helps to prevent periodontal issues in the future. Misaligned teeth can also affect digestion and, in extreme cases, lead to the erosion of the jawbone. These risks are minimised or eradicated in some cases by braces. Talk through these things to remind your child and help them to understand why having braces is important.
Discuss Their Limitations
Depending on what form of braces your child will need, they may find that they have some limitations. There could be some foods they can’t eat or things they can’t really do with braces. Discuss the possibilities with them beforehand while emphasising that they are temporary. Some of the things might not bother them, and some might be difficult. For example, when wearing braces, you should not chew gum or ice, and contact sports are off the table, all of which can damage the braces or the mouth if the wire comes loose.
Also, dietary changes will need to be made; for example, sugary foods and drinks should be avoided because they can erode the adhesive on the braces, or in extreme cases, they can stain the teeth, which then leaves marks when the braces are removed. By going through these things beforehand, they have the time to think about them, which means that they won’t be a surprise when the time comes.
Make it As Easy As Possible
When the time comes, you’ll want to make the transition as easy as possible for your child. If you have discussed everything with them beforehand, they are far more likely to be compliant with their orthodontists’ instructions. If you want to make it easier on them, then you might want to invest in a few things such as an electric toothbrush or a Waterpik to make it easier for them to clean their teeth with their braces. You could also practice making some meals that they can eat without pain or discomfort.
Wearing braces can be a big event in a child’s life. Some will find it scary, some might be reluctant, and some might see it as a relief. In the end, you have a big influence on your child and how they will see this experience.
Try to be empathetic and communicative; this will help minimise their feelings of anxiety to make the whole ordeal as easy as possible.