Ready for Braces

Modern orthodontic treatment has never been easier, more effective or more comfortable, but despite this, it does still require commitment, especially as your child is likely to be wearing braces for quite some time to come. It’s hardly surprising that children and teenagers often feel a little apprehensive about receiving orthodontic care, as, after all, it is a brand-new experience. However, with a little preparation, you can help get your child ready for orthodontic treatment Our pediatric dentist, Dr. Beanca Chu, and our in-house orthodontist Dr. Shawn Yu, along with our dental team are always here to support you both and to offer advice. Listed below are some of the ways you can help prepare your child.

Schedule an Early Visit to our Orthodontist

Many parents are surprised to learn their child can visit an orthodontist while they are still quite young. In fact, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that a child sees a board-certified orthodontist by age 7 to see if early treatment may be useful. An early appointment will enable our pediatric dentist and orthodontist to carefully assess and diagnose any problems that may be developing. At this stage, your child might not need any treatment, but it can be useful to monitor the growth and development of their teeth and jaws until they are ready to start wearing braces. During an early appointment, Drs. Beanca Chu and Shawn Yu can decide if your child will benefit from orthodontic treatment and will suggest the optimal time to begin wearing an orthodontic appliance. This will give you and your child more time to become accustomed to the idea of braces, and it will also allow you both to explore all possible treatment options.

Learn About All Possible Treatments

As a board-certified orthodontist, Dr. Shawn Yu is familiar with all the best, most up-to-date and most effective treatments. He will provide a treatment plan detailing possible options that will work well for your child. Dr. Yu can discuss each potential solution in detail and will explain why he thinks this will be the most suitable choice. This might depend on your child’s lifestyle habits, for example, whether they play any musical instruments or sports that could be affected by braces. While braces are often the most suitable and effective choice for treatment, sometimes older children with good compliance may be suitable for removable braces, such as Invisalign. Children who are already very self-conscious or shy might be dreading the thought of wearing metal braces, in which case a more aesthetic option could be preferable, such as clear braces, lingual braces or Invisalign.

Taking the Mystery Out of Wearing Braces

Initially, wearing braces may be surrounded by a certain amount of mystery so it’s worth sitting down with your child and explaining exactly what is involved with treatment and what they can expect. Encourage them to ask questions and if you are unable to answer them then you can always get in touch with us here at the office of Dr. Beanca Chu, DDS, APC. Most children want to know how their braces will be fitted and if treatment will be uncomfortable. It could also be worth asking your child to make a list of their questions to bring to their appointment with our orthodontist. Getting your child involved in the process of wearing braces will encourage their acceptance of treatment.

Increasing Your Child’s Motivation for Treatment

Another thing that can help is to look at before and after pictures of children who have worn braces. This can help to show a nervous or anxious child that treatment will be worthwhile and hopefully your child will feel excited about the prospect of having a straighter and more attractive smile. If your child is to have Invisalign treatment, they will be able to view visual images showing how their teeth will look once treatment is completed which can be extremely motivating.

Discussing Your Child’s Responsibilities during Treatment

Orthodontic treatment does require a certain level of commitment to be successful and it’s important to discuss your child’s responsibilities during this whole process. This will help ensure that your financial investment in their dental health isn’t wasted. Explain why you feel orthodontic treatment will help them and why it will be necessary to avoid certain foods if wearing fixed braces. Although orthodontic treatment doesn’t really take that long to complete, the prospect of wearing braces for even a few months can initially seem daunting to a child. Make sure they understand exactly how orthodontics could benefit their appearance and their dental health, potentially for life. Children also need to be aware of the need for maintaining excellent oral hygiene. Additionally, they will need to see our orthodontist at regular intervals to check treatment is progressing correctly and to make any adjustments to their braces. Talking to your child will help identify any concerns they may have about treatment, so you can address these before their braces are placed.

Make Sure You Have Dental Supplies and Easy to Eat Foods

Once a date has been set for their braces to be placed, then make sure you have everything your child will need. This should include dental wax, some floss threaders and any other tools required to look after their dental hygiene. You might also want to put together a small dental kit that they can take to school so they can clean their teeth after eating lunch or a snack. Initially, after their braces are placed your child may experience some discomfort or increased sensitivity. Make sure you have soft, easy to eat foods that they can enjoy for the first few days after getting braces. Another option is to get them involved and to discuss recipes that sound appealing to eat while they adjust to their braces. Promising a tasty smoothie or milkshake will give your child something to look forward to that first night and won’t do too much harm just for one night.

The Importance of Positive Reinforcement and Support

Offering positive reinforcement in the form of treats can be extremely helpful. You might want to suggest a rewards system in return for keeping up a good oral hygiene routine, for following our orthodontist’s instructions, and for attending appointments. Don’t forget to be supportive and encourage your child to talk about orthodontic treatment before they begin and during the process. The more they know about orthodontics and how it will help them, the more likely they will start their treatment feeling confident and motivated. Ultimately, the very best reward will be a beautifully straight and healthy smile.

Contact us today to learn more about our orthodontic options and treatments for your child.