When your first child starts their orthodontic journey, it can be tough for them to get used to the idea of having braces for a year or more to correct issues like crowded teeth or overbite. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do as a parent to make it a little easier for your child to get used to their braces. Here’s what you need to know.
When your child needs braces to correct dental issues, it’s easy for them to get discouraged. It can feel like it’s out of their hands and that they have no say in the matter of whether or not they’ll get braces. When your child feels this way, it can be tough to reassure them. But if their main fear is looking ridiculous with braces, that’s your cue to have a good talk about just how common braces are. Almost 4 million people are currently wearing braces in America alone. And if you ever had braces, now is the time to dig up your old pictures. Sometimes all it takes to help your child feel better about their braces is letting them know that they’re not alone and that plenty of people have dealt with feelings just like theirs. Even you! This kind of reassurance can go a long way in helping your child get used to the idea of braces and their new braces once they’re on.
One of the more annoying parts of having braces is the fact that it’s more difficult to eat some kinds of food. In fact, in some cases, your child may have to give up a food they love entirely because of their braces. Hard candies or extremely crunchy foods, for instance, are typically off-limits when your child has braces. Instead of depriving your child of their favorite foods for as long as they have braces, make it a family-wide dietary change. In addition, prepare your child for some dietary changes before they get their braces put on. Things like cutting up apples and pears, staying away from chewing gum, and eating more soft foods are easy changes to make. But when they get sprung on your child at the orthodontist’s office, it might breed a little bit more resistance. Instead of letting the orthodontist surprise them, make an effort to plan dietary changes ahead of time together as a family.
Braces can be tough to deal with sometimes. And they don’t just go away after a week. The average hospital stay might be 4.5 days, but most orthodontic treatments that involve braces last for a year or more. So when you can and when reasonable, try to make life a little bit easier for your child. If they’re having a hard time properly cleaning their braces with a manual toothbrush, invest in an electric model to help them out. Are they dealing with discomfort after an orthodontic visit? Offer some ice cream and some ibuprofen. These little things can help make life with braces a little bit easier for your child.
Braces can be tough to deal with. As a parent, it’s your job to let your child know that they’re not alone and that you’ll do what you can to help them feel comfortable and confident while they need to wear them.
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