There are more young kids and teenagers getting braces today than ever before. Recent reports have suggested that up to 80 percent of U.S. teens will spend at least some time receiving orthodontic care.
Yet, there are still many kids getting braces who are scared about going through the process. They worry about everything from what it’ll feel like to have braces to what their friends will say when they see them with braces.
Does your child fall into this category? If so, there are some things you can do to prepare them for what’s to come. You can help ease their worries by talking to them before they start seeing an orthodontist on a regular basis.
Here are five tips on how to prepare kids getting braces.
Talk to Your Child About Why They Need Braces
Kids getting braces don’t always understand why they need braces in the first place. Their parents know why it’s important for them to get braces. But they sometimes choose not to share that information with their kids for one reason or another.
Try not to do this as it’ll only add to the anxiety your kids feel. Instead, sit down with your kids and talk to them about why they need to have braces put on their teeth.
Some kids need braces to straighten crooked teeth that are in their mouth. Others need braces to correct overbites or underbites. There are even some who need braces so they won’t have so much trouble biting and chewing on food.
Your child won’t be as nervous about getting braces when they know the reasoning behind it. They’ll have a better understanding of why it’s important for them to have braces put onto their teeth.
Explain Their Different Treatment Options
For years, metal braces were the only reliable option for parents seeking orthodontic treatment for their kids. As a result, most kids assume that they’re going to have metal braces put on their teeth when their parents tell them they need braces.
There is nothing wrong with going with metal braces for your child’s teeth. They’re still considered the standard in most orthodontic circles.
But Invisalign has also emerged as a viable alternative for young people who need braces. Invisalign is an excellent option for kids and teens who want discrete braces that they can take in and out whenever they want.
Discuss the differences between metal braces and Invisalign with your child so that they feel like you’re including them in the discussion. Together, you can decide the best course of action for your child’s teeth.
Speak With Them About What It’s Like to Get Braces
Regardless of whether you choose to go with metal braces or Invisalign for your child, there is a process they’ll need to go through when getting braces. From having molds of their teeth made to actually putting braces into place, it can be a long process for some kids.
If you have had braces in the past, feel free to share your own experiences as far as what it’s like to get them. Or ask your child’s orthodontist to walk them through the process that they’ll have to go through to get braces.
A good orthodontist will be more than willing to take the time to put your child’s troubled mind at ease. They’ll also answer any questions your child might have about what it’s like to get braces.
Make Sure They Know How to Care for Their Braces
Having braces is a bigger responsibility than most kids realize. Some of them worry about whether or not they’ll be up for the challenge.
Prior to putting braces on your child’s teeth, you should talk to them about what steps they’ll need to take to care for their braces. It’s important for them to be aware of the maintenance they’ll need to do on their braces.
Your child will have to get into the habit of:
- Brushing their teeth twice every day for two minutes at a time
- Cleaning their braces while they’re brushing their teeth
- Flossing at least once every day
- Rinsing their mouth out and checking on the condition of their teeth and braces
- Taking regular trips to the orthodontist’s office
Your child will also need to steer clear of eating anything that’s too sticky or hard for their braces. It’s good for them to stick to soft foods that won’t take too much of a toll on their teeth.
Some kids might get overwhelmed when you dump all this maintenance information on them. But some also enjoy the fact that they’ll be in charge of taking care of something. This will get these kids excited about the idea of getting braces.
Play Up the Benefits of Getting Braces
If all else fails and you just can’t seem to get your child to embrace the thought of getting braces, feel free to list each and every benefit that they’ll get to enjoy by getting braces.
A few of the biggest benefits of getting braces are:
- Straightens your teeth and makes them look amazing
- Improves your ability to chew foods
- Prevents cavities and gum disease from setting in
- Stops teeth from shifting around in your mouth over time
- Gives your self-confidence a big boost
When kids getting braces know it’s for their own good, they’ll be more likely to get on board with the plan. All of the positive things that come along with getting braces will start to eclipse whatever negative thoughts they have about them.
Kids Getting Braces Don’t Have to Be Scared
It’s normal for kids to feel a little bit scared when they find out they need braces. Some think braces are going to hurt or make them look dramatically different.
As a parent, it’s your job to let kids getting braces know that everything is going to be OK. Spend time talking to them about the process and point out all the good parts about getting braces. It’ll make your kids feel better about sitting down in an orthodontist’s chair.
Contact us today to set up a consultation if you suspect your child might need braces.