Adolescents go through a lot of changes. Add braces for teens to the mix and awkwardness and discomfort are automatically increased. Most teens don’t like to draw attention to themselves – and braces definitely want to be noticed. You may want your teen to snap out of his or her funk if they’re bummed out about walking around with a brace-face, but there are ways to help them get used to this new part of their appearance.
1. Talk up the benefits.
Teens who are less than excited about wearing braces can be hard to convert to the bright side. However, there are many points parents can continue to reinforce to make the situation more palatable. Remind your favorite orthodontic patient that braces are far less noticeable than those used decades ago, plus they’re designed to straighten teeth faster and more gently. Orthodontic treatment is also the path to excellent oral health for a lifetime, with teeth that are easier to clean, meaning less risk of cavities and other oral health complications.
2. Highlight the cool accessories.
Braces can be personalized using different color brackets and bands. While this may not hold appeal for some teens, for others it’s a highlight of standing out. If you have to look different because of braces, it might as well be on your own terms. From appointment to appointment, the look of braces can be tweaked to suit your mood, favorite colors, sports team, or otherwise.
3. Create braces kits.
If your child carries multiple bags for school and different activities, make sure they have a braces kit in each tote so they’re always prepared. Include wax, which can be put on pokey wires to make them more comfortable, as well as toothbrush, toothpaste, flossers, and any other critical cleaning tools. Make sure they have a case for their Invisalign trays, retainers, or other appliances, if applicable.
4. Look at all the options.
You may envision your child wearing conventional metal braces and experiencing this rite of passage, but be open to all your Woodinville orthodontist’s recommendations. Your child may be a good candidate for Invisalign Teen, which is a discreet way to straighten teeth and one that many teenagers are delighted to be able to wear. Clear or ceramic braces may also be an option, which makes orthodontic treatment less noticeable.
5. Adjust the menu.
Your teen’s favorite foods may be off-limits for the duration of their orthodontic treatment, unless they are lucky enough to wear Invisalign Teen and have zero food restrictions. Either way, as their mouth adjusts to the feeling of braces, stock up on softer foods that are easier to eat like soups, puddings, and pastas. There will be discomfort throughout orthodontic treatment, especially as adjustments are made or trays are switched out. Make it as easy as possible by offering foods a new braces-wearer can handle.
6. Be honest.
Always be straight-up with your teen about their braces – your orthodontist is. Adolescents need to understand that they will wear braces for 18 to 24 months, depending on how much their teeth have to move to get into alignment and how committed they are to their orthodontist’s instructions. They will visit the orthodontist every six to eight weeks. Braces are a commitment, but they’re worth it.
Is Your Child Ready for Braces for Teens?
If you think your teen is ready for braces or if your dentist has recommended that you look into orthodontic treatment, contact Soleil Orthodontics in Woodinville to schedule a consultation.