Most kids don’t exactly get excited when it comes time for them to get braces. Getting braces is a big change in a young adult’s appearance and habits and can certainly cause some anxiety. As a parent, it’s tough to see your child struggle with this change. Here at Dr. Andy’s office, we’ve gathered some of the top tips from parents of kids getting braces on how to help your son or daughter adjust to braces and their orthodontic treatment.
Many parents naturally exude positivity, but it’s important to remember that attitudes are contagious! If your son or daughter picks up on the fact that you’re excited that they’re getting braces, then they’ll feel more positive about the entire experience.
Re-iterate to your child that the end outcome will be totally worth it! Even if you’re not looking forward to the process, be sure to keep a smile on your face. It really will make a difference and help to reduce your child’s anxiety!
Listen to Them
The experience of adjusting to braces is something that’s completely unknown to them – and maybe you as well! That means they’ll experience things that surprise them, from minor discomforts to situations arising from the new appliance in their mouth. While you know the end of the road is one that’s beneficial for their health, you should make sure they feel heard if they have concerns.
If your child is adjusting to braces and mentions an unusual pain, a potential issue, or some other concern, don’t brush it off! It’s often nothing serious, but they could need an adjustment at our office or for someone to look at their braces to ensure a bracket hasn’t come loose.
Eliminate Bad Food
When your child gets braces, they’ll have to limit the types of foods they eat to make sure they don’t damage their braces or cause other issues. Fortunately, there aren’t that many foods that need restricted during orthodontic treatment, but it’s probably a good idea to ditch the sticky, tough-to-eat foods from your home. Even the strongest wills can sometimes fall to temptation, and if your child is home alone and hungry they may reach for a snack that they shouldn’t be eating.
Additionally, by removing these foods from the home, you won’t accidentally end up eating them in front of your child. This can give them an urge to eat foods that could be problematic for their braces!
Common problem foods for braces include popcorn, sticky candies, and whole fruits and veggies. On the flipside, be sure to keep an inventory of softer foods available, especially after your child gets their braces tightened.
Set a Good Example
Braces have a tendency to trap foods which makes it more difficult to floss correctly, so the risk for cavities increases in children with braces. Poor dental care during orthodontic treatment can lead to other issues during treatment or after their braces come off. Because of this, it’s critically important your child continues to brush and floss thoroughly!
Be sure that you brush and floss regularly and exhibit good dental hygiene. Children really do mimic our behaviors, not our words. If you’re doing the best you can to take care of your teeth, your child will too. It’s also helpful to stock up on special dental hygiene products specifically for kids with braces. Great products include threader floss and mouthwash for braces.
Keep on Track with Dental Visits
One of the best ways you can provide support to a child adjusting to braces is to make sure they’re visiting the orthodontist and dentist as recommended. Staying on track with orthodontist treatment means letting your child’s orthodontist have a chance to track their progress over the months. As the parent, your child relies on you to be diligent about scheduling and bringing them to these appointments.
The same is true for their regular dentist – they still need hygiene visits and exams to look for other issues that aren’t related to their orthodontic treatment. It’s best to prevent cavities and other general dental health concerns than wait until after braces to try and treat them when they’ve become more severe.
Contact Doctor Andy!
If your son or daughter is really struggling with their transition to braces, there’s certainly no harm in talking to Dr. Andy about it. Parents often have a hard time communicating with their kids about the importance and benefits of kids getting braces. If your child isn’t taking good care of his or her braces and won’t listen to your advice, sometimes Dr. Andy has better luck “getting through” to them.
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