Getting Your Kids Ready for Braces
Children, particularly teens, can tend to be self-conscious about their appearance, and embarrassment about misaligned teeth can have a big impact as their confidence levels decrease. Braces provide the solution to this problem by fixing issues with speaking, eating and smiling by correcting crowded or crooked teeth, which will also avoid potential dental health problems in the future.
Conventional metal and ceramic braces are far more discreet than they used to be and provide a greater degree of comfort. while the Invisalign system of teeth straightening, with removable plastic devices that are practically invisible, presents a high-tech alternative. However, getting your kids prepared for braces can be a challenge.
To help you get your kids ready for braces, we’re going to look at some of the common reasons why youngsters may view the prospect of wearing these orthodontic devices with trepidation – and what you can do to help allay their fears.
1. Braces Will Make Me Look Stupid!
Explain to your child that an orthodontic specialist will be able to offer a wide range of braces, both traditional and state-of-the-art. Metal braces are now much less obtrusive, while ceramic appliances and Invisalign aligners are even less noticeable. The bands that cover the brackets also come in a variety of colors, and many kids regard these as cool.
Kids will feel more comfortable wearing braces as they get used to them over time. Some parents choose to start their child’s orthodontic treatment during the summer break to give them the chance to familiarize themselves with the new look before everyone at school at sees it. You can help to ease your child’s anxieties about braces by doing some fun internet research with them about cool celebrities who’ve had braces.
2. Do Braces Hurt?
There may be some discomfort immediately after having braces fitted, but this typically goes away quickly, and an over-the-counter pain-killer suitable for youngsters can help. If the braces are removable (for minor problems), putting them in and taking them out should not hurt at all.
Unfortunately, in some cases, extractions may be necessary prior to fitting braces. An experienced orthodontic dentist will ensure the procedure is as pain-free as possible. If your youngster is particularly apprehensive about an extraction, explain that various levels of sedation are available to make the procedure much less stressful.
3. Braces Treatment Takes So Long!
Typical braces treatment takes about 18 months, which can seem a very long time for a youngster, but visits for readjustments are usually only necessary every one or two months. An orthodontic specialist’s experience in realigning teeth will minimize treatment times. Parents also have a role to play in ensuring their child keeps up with regular adjustment visits and follows instructions on oral healthcare at home.
4. How on Earth Can We Afford Braces?
Teens may well have gained a level of maturity that causes them to worry about braces treatment putting a financial burden on their family. Reassure them that braces are an investment in the future, and that having straight, healthy teeth will avoid costly dental treatment further down the road, while potentially improving their success in education, career and relationships. Point out to your youngster that the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics (AJO-DO) says people with great smiles are perceived as being more intelligent.
If money is a particular concern and you don’t have dental insurance coverage, look for an orthodontist that offers flexible and affordable payment options to fit your budget. If the dentist accepts CareCredit, you can spread the cost of braces over a long period, without having to pay interest charges.
Explain the Process to Your Child
They say that forewarned is forearmed, so make sure your youngster knows step-by-step what to expect during fixed braces treatment:
- Step 1. X-rays and impressions of the teeth and jaw are taken, which will shape the design of their braces.
- Step 2. If teeth are crowded, some may need to be removed to make room for the others to shift and straighten.
- Step 3. At the next appointment, tiny plastic separators will be inserted between the molars. These will stay in place for about a week to create space for the molar bands in the braces.
- Step 4. During the next visit, the main components of the braces – the brackets and bands – will be bonded to the teeth. Initially, this can feel a bit strange for kids.
- Step 5. Your child will go back to the dentist every four to eight weeks to track progress and for gradual adjustments as necessary.
- Step 6. The braces remain in place for an average of 18 months, although it can be anywhere from one to three years.
- Step 7. When the braces are removed, retainers will need to be worn at night for a few months to prevent the teeth from moving back to their original position.
Advantages of Removable Braces
If your child’s teeth need only minor corrections, removable braces are the order of the day, and these devices eliminate many concerns among youngsters.
Compared with traditional non-removable braces, removable devices such as Invisalign make it easier for youngsters to get on with their everyday life and provide better access to brush and floss their teeth, which reduces the danger of tooth decay and gum infections such as gingivitis. Another advantage of Invisalign aligners is that your youngster is able to eat and drink whatever he or she wants, and they can be removed to take part in sports and other activities.
The Invisalign system is capable of solving many issues caused by misalignment of teeth, from bite problems to overcrowded or gapped teeth.
Focus on the Ultimate Goal
Braces represent a big investment for parents and also mean a huge commitment by your child. Fixed braces require ongoing maintenance and can mean that certain foods will need to be avoided for the time being.
So, before any treatment begins, it’s imperative that you talk to your child and explain the full process. Make sure they understand that looking after their braces properly can mean a speedier treatment time and less discomfort – and don’t forget to remind them how good they’ll look when it’s over!