Most people think of braces as a rite of passage for kids in their early teens. And while that is typically the age when they are first fitted with braces, there may come a time when your teen needs help adjusting to them.
If your child is getting new braces or struggling with their existing ones, there are some things you can do as a parent to help them through the process. Here are a few tips on how to help your teen with braces.
10 Tips to help your teen with braces
Explore their treatment options together
If your teen is unhappy with their braces, explore their treatment options together when next you go to your orthodontic clinic. There are various types of braces available these days, so there’s sure to be one that’s a good fit for your child.
Moreover, Invisalign aligners are a popular option for teens because they’re nearly invisible and can be removed for eating and brushing. Additionally, ceramic braces are another popular option because they’re less noticeable than metal braces.
Help Them Get Used to the Feel of Braces
If your teen has never had braces before, it can take a while before they get used to it. The brackets and wires can feel scratchy and uncomfortable on their gums and cheeks at first. You can help them use orthodontic wax to cover up any sharp edges that are causing irritation.
Moreover, eating soft foods can also make the adjustment period a little easier. After a few days, their mouth will get used to the feeling of braces, and the discomfort will start to subside.
Help them care for their braces
Proper oral hygiene is essential when wearing braces, and your teen may need some help in this area. They will need to brush at least twice a day and floss at least once a day. You may also need to remind them or even help them with this at first.
Braces require a bit more effort when it comes to oral hygiene. Your teen will need to brush and floss properly to remove food particles and plaque from their teeth and braces.
Help them get into the habit of packing a toothbrush and floss with them to school so they can brush after lunch. You might also want to consider investing in an electric toothbrush, which can be easier to maneuver around braces.
Encourage Them to Eat Healthy Foods
Teens often crave sugary and starchy snacks, but these can do a lot of damage to braces. Instead, encourage your teen to eat healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, and lean protein, which are less likely to cause cavities and other problems with their braces. If they do have a craving for something sweet or sticky, suggest that they eat it as part of a meal instead of as a snack.
Help Them Stay on Top of Their Appointments
Orthodontic treatment can take several months or even years, so it’s important to make sure your teen keeps up with their appointments. Set reminders on your phone or on their calendar so they don’t forget when their next appointment is. If they’re having trouble making it to their appointments, talk to the orthodontist about ways to make the process easier for them.
The key to helping your teen through braces is to be supportive. During your child’s orthodontic treatment, they may feel self-conscious about their appearance or worry that others are making fun of them. As a parent, it’s important to be supportive and listen to their concerns.
If they seem really down about their braces, talk to their orthodontist about ways to make the process easier for them. Sometimes, a simple change like switching to a different type of braces or adding colored elastics can make a big difference in their attitude.
Additionally, let your teen know that you’re there for them and that you understand what they’re going through. Praise them for taking care of their braces and keeping up with their appointments.
Finally, help them feel good about themselves by pointing out all the things that make them special, even if their braces are a source of insecurity. With your support, they’ll be able to get through treatment and come out the other side with a beautiful, healthy smile.
Focus on the positives of braces
There are a lot of positive aspects to braces that your teen may not be aware of. For instance, braces can help improve their overall oral health by correcting misalignments and promoting straight teeth.
They may also find that their speech is clearer and that they can chew food more easily once their teeth are properly aligned. Help them focus on these positives by reminding them of all the benefits of braces.
Be prepared for setbacks
Despite your best efforts, there may be times when your teen has trouble with their braces. For example, they might forget to brush or floss regularly, leading to cavities and other problems. In addition, their brackets might come loose, or they might lose a rubber band. Regardless, it’s important to be prepared for these setbacks and help your teen get back on track as quickly as possible.
Explain the Purpose of Braces
Having a clear understanding of the purpose of braces can help ease some of the anxiety your teenager may feel about getting them. They may not be too thrilled about wearing braces, but if they know it’s for a good reason and that it will ultimately improve their smile, they may be more willing to go through with it.
Encourage Them to Be Patient
The results of their orthodontic treatment will be worth the wait, but it’s normal for your teenager to want their braces off yesterday. It’s important to encourage them to be patient and remind them that their smile will be straighter and healthier for it in the long run.
Help them stay motivated by setting small goals, like going a week without breaking any brackets or elastics or not eating any sticky candy that could pull wires out of place. Celebrate each accomplishment along the way to help ease their frustration.
The Best way to help your teen with braces
Getting braces can be a big adjustment for teenagers, but with the right support, they can get through it. As a parent, you can help by being supportive, setting reminders, and focusing on the positives of braces. You should also be prepared for setbacks and encourage your teen to be patient throughout the process. Contact a dental professional at My Smile Orthodontics for further inquires.