One of the leading causes of dental visits is problems stemming from misaligned, crooked, or uneven teeth. Over continuing visits, a local dentist will examine the affected teeth and create a treatment plan that may or may not involve surgical or non-surgical methods of correction. If the dentist feels the teeth need intervention, they may suggest various teeth straightening solutions, one of the most popular being dental braces.
Despite the popularity of dental braces, most children aren’t too enthused when told they need them. Adolescence is a time when children go through enough changes already, so when the time comes for them to get braces, it may stir up even more emotions. As a parent, it can be tough to watch your child grapple with their feelings, so it is essential that you show your support and do everything to brace them through this new chapter in their lives.
Braces affect your child’s physical appearance, but they can also affect what your child eats or drinks and other lifestyle changes. Due to this, it’s entirely normal for your child to be experiencing feelings of anxiousness, sadness, and possibly even anger. This change can be challenging for both child and parent, so we’ve compiled a few of our top tips on how to help your child adjust to braces – continue reading to find out more.
Make Sure That You Listen
Listening is one of the most effective forms of communication, so it’s vital that you extend an ear while your child is adjusting to their new orthodontic treatment. Getting dental braces is an incredibly individual experience that is entirely unknown to them – and perhaps you as well!
They’ll experience sensations they’ve never felt before during this period, which may surprise or scare them at times. They may also have to deal with new situations, such as learning to clean the apparatus, speaking with it, or if a bracket breaks.
As their parent, you’ll understand that any discomfort or situations they experience are in the best interest of their oral health; still, it’s important to be sympathetic and listen when required. Suppose that they voice a concern or inform you of an issue they’re experiencing.
Don’t brush it off immediately, even if it is a common side effect of dental braces. Listen to what they have to say and investigate the problem – for all you know; a bracket could have come loose and is causing them irritation. Most of the time, the issue is nothing to worry about, but your child will be grateful you listened.
Manage Your Child’s Expectations
Another way that you can help your child adjust to braces is by managing their expectations. Since seeing your child with braces may come as an initial shock, it’s vital that you avoid any more surprises by sitting down with them before the appointment and making a list of questions that they want to ask the dentist.
Bring this list with you to their appointment, and their chosen orthodontist will be able to answer them honestly. Whether you have questions about what kind of discomfort to expect, hygiene requirements, or what to expect after the braces come off. It’s also a good idea to comfort your child by explaining that this treatment is not permanent, which will help ease your child’s worries about their appearance or what other children will think.
Remind Them Of Life After Braces
Focusing on other factors instead of the physical implications of braces is another way that you can help your child adjust to life with them. Remind them that they will have aligned, straight teeth, which will help them love their appearance even more and bring them heightened confidence levels.
You could even plan a special dinner, including some of the foods that your child has had to avoid while wearing dental braces. Or you could throw a party, book a professional photo shoot to celebrate the results, or plan ahead and purchase a pair of invisible aligners, which your child will have to wear after their braces treatment to keep their new smile in place.
Thanks to advancements in dental technology, you don’t even have to book an appointment with your child’s dentist; instead, you can purchase at-home invisible aligner kits from websites like Alignerco.com.
Unlike braces, invisible aligners are made from a high-quality clear plastic that can be worn discreetly to maintain the results of braces. Consider looking at their website, following their blog, or contacting a team member directly to learn how their invisible straightening solutions could help your child maintain their new smile once their braces are off.
Help Them Stick To Their Dietary Guidelines
When it is time for your child to get braces, they’ll have to follow strict dietary guidelines given to them by their dentist to ensure that their braces don’t get damaged or cause other issues. Luckily, very few foods are entirely off-limits for those who wear braces; generally, it is just chewy, tough, sticky foods that present a challenge.
We know that children have a particular fondness for candies and sweets, which aren’t the best for maintaining the health of dental braces. Therefore, it is best to remove the temptation altogether and help your child adjust to these dietary guidelines by removing any restricted foods from the house until their braces come off.
By removing these types of food from your home, you’ll remove the temptation from your child and prevent yourself from reaching for them in front of them, which could tempt them to indulge. There is a list of bad foods for dental braces, but some of the most popular are popcorn, nuts, chewing gum, ice, pizza crust, hard candy, sticky candy, and bagels or other hard-baked goods.
Instead, encourage your child to eat brace-friendly foods by stocking the cupboards with oatmeal, scrambled eggs, soups, pasta, soft vegetables, mashed potatoes, soft cheeses, and seafood. You could plan to go shopping together each week or cook together so that you can make foods you all enjoy – braces or no braces.
Be An Example For Your Child
Children mirror our actions, not our words; therefore, it is essential to set an example for your children to follow. As your children grow up, it is vital that you highlight the importance of good dental practices, which they will pass on to their own families in due course. This is especially important when it comes time for your child to get braces.
Since they are challenging to clean, children who wear braces are at an increased risk of cavities because of all the food that can get trapped by the apparatus. To avoid this, it’s imperative that your child cleanses their brace according to their dentist’s instructions, as failure to do so can lead to issues during their treatment or once their treatment is up.
Ensure that your child looks after their brace by regularly brushing and flossing. You can even find specialty products designed specifically for children with braces, such as mouthwash and threader floss, which may encourage them further to care for their brace. It’ll also help if you set an example by looking after your own dental hygiene while your child adapts to braces since they’ll look to you as a role model on which to base their behavior.