While many tweens are excited to get braces because so many of their friends have them, sometimes they can be nervous. After all, there are a few unknown factors about getting new braces, and they likely don’t know what to expect. They might have heard myths about braces that make them uneasy about going to see the orthodontist. One thing for your child to remember is that braces are temporary, but straight teeth and an amazing smile will last the rest of her life.
Here are some talking points you can address with your child as her bonding appointment approaches, and she experiences the first few weeks of life with braces:
A common worry that children have is that braces are going to hurt. The truth is, getting your braces is virtually painless. It doesn’t hurt to have brackets and wires applied, but there will be some soreness afterward. Give your child a Tylenol before coming to her bonding appointment to help lessen the discomfort after leaving our office. Braces might irritate the side of your child’s mouth, but orthodontic wax can help ease the discomfort. If the wax doesn’t soothe the pain, try getting your child to gargle with warm salt water to heal the sores caused by the wires and brackets rubbing the mouth.
Remind your child that braces are temporary. Most patients only have to wear braces for one to three years, depending on the type of bite and alignment issues we’re trying to correct. Tweens are most comfortable wearing braces in middle school because their peers are also wearing them. If your child is faced with name calling or bullying because of her new braces, remind her to walk away from the situation, or kill them with kindness.
She gets to choose her colors
If your child has traditional braces, remind her she can actually show her personal style while in treatment because she will get to change the colors of her rubber bands each month. Get your child to be excited about going to her orthodontist appointment and talk to her about what color combination she will choose at her next appointment. Will it be bright colors for summer? Pink or red for Valentine’s Day? Or colors to support her favorite sports team?
Spoil your child before the new braces are bonded
Your child won’t be able to eat her favorite sticky snacks for a while once she gets her braces. Make a bag of goodies that will soon be forbidden from her diet. Some snacks to add to the goodie bag could be chocolate with nuts and caramel, beef jerky, hard candy, bubble gum and popcorn.
Reward with ice cream or a milkshake
Give your child something to look forward to after leaving our office. Find a braces-friendly snack that she enjoys eating. You can take a trip to your favorite ice cream shop to enjoy a sweet treat. Ice cream actually is a great treat that also will help soothe the soreness after getting braces. You can tell her I prescribed it!
Our office is fun
Your child will look forward to coming back to see us at our office. We provide fun, upbeat music and movies for our patients. Your child will enjoy playing games on the Xbox360 and the PlayStation 4, or listening to music on our iPods while she waits for her appointment to ease some of the built up nerves.
Your child should be excited about her new look when she gets finished with her orthodontic treatment. There is nothing better than a beautiful smile to boost your child’s confidence, so if she acts apprehensive about treatment, or complains about wanting to get those braces off, remind her of the end result and tell her to keep her eyes on the prize.