How to help your teenager cope with braces
Teenagers are self-conscious and crooked teeth can affect their confidence. They are dreaming about a perfect smile, but not everyone is ready for braces. It’s because the treatment often takes a year or two before it gives results. However, it’s the best option for your teenager’s dental health, especially in the long run. And they appreciate having perfect teeth once the treatment finishes.
So, how to get teenagers to cope with the fact they’ll need braces? Securing top-quality dental care and an expert ready to answer all their questions is a good start. Here’s a detailed guide on how you can help your teen cope with braces!
Learn more about teen braces
Your first task is to cover the basics, and that includes learning about the braces. Today’s dental care offers Invisalign, metal braces, and similar treatments. While it helps to know about different options, a professional should decide what’s best for your child. Each patient is different, and a skilled dental care expert can estimate which treatment will deliver the best results for your teen.
If you wore braces as a teen, you might know they can be uncomfortable. But if you didn’t, the critical advice is to be patient. It also helps to understand how braces work, what’s needed to maintain them, etc.
Bring your teen into the conversation
Your child would be the one to wear the braces, so it’s important to get them on board first. Getting them into the conversation is crucial. If you notice they have crooked teeth, you could assume they need braces. A dental care expert is a professional who needs to confirm that and suggest potential treatments.
If there are different options, discuss them with your child. Once they agree to braces, discuss how they’ll require constant care. Encourage your teen to share any concerns and ask questions, so you can discuss and resolve them before going ahead with the treatment. It increases the chances of them accepting braces.
Help them plan for life with braces
Depending on your teen’s lifestyle up to that point, braces could be a big adjustment. Before deciding on a treatment, discuss what they can expect from life with braces.
These three categories are crucial:
- Regular dental care. Your dentist will explain how to approach brushing and flossing with the braces. But taking special care of nooks and crannies will help avoid cavities and other potential problems.
- Food. Any chewy, sticky, or crunchy foods are out of the question. That means there’s no chewing gum, popcorn, or bagels. Any hard foods that require biting into, such as carrots, should be avoided (or cut in slices).
- Physical activity. Athletes in sports with human contact should wear mouthguards. Teens can proceed with any physical activity; the only thing to watch out for is avoiding face trauma.
Keep dinner braces-friendly
Braces are an excellent opportunity to get your teen, but also other household members, on a healthier diet. For starters, wearing braces implies avoiding crunchy, sticky, or chewy foods. Many in those categories are unhealthy, such as chips. If your teen is around, try not to consume these foods. Or even better, throw them out of the house. It could be healthy for the entire family to avoid them.
Dinners and meals that you have together should be braces-friendly. There are plenty of great foods available. Some suggestions include meatballs and meatloaf with mashed potatoes and soft-cooked rice. Or you can go with seafood, pasta, and even soft pastries.
Sooth the pain with coldness
Be honest with your teen – braces could be uncomfortable. The initial few weeks will be the trickiest time. It’s common for people wearing braces to experience inflammation until the mouth gets used to the change.
The soreness is a problem, but things get better with something cold. So, how about taking your teen out for their favorite ice cream? It can be a reward for them being brave and deciding to go with the treatment.
Cold sodas are another option but discuss if it’s possible to avoid them. Put water bottles in the fridge, so there’s always cold water available. And if your teen prefers an alternative, try a fresh sugar-free juice. If they drink soda, it’s vital to wash their teeth regularly.
Focus on the long-term benefits
Show compassion and explain that you understand it’s difficult to deal with braces sometimes. However, point out that your teen should focus on long-term benefits. Once they finish the treatment, it will all be worth it. They’ll be able to smile with confidence, and everyone will be impressed with their straight teeth. If it helps, dentist offices often have before and after photos on their sites. Browse them to help your teen visualize the outcome.
Show patience to your teen
Adults are nervous when something’s bothering them, so why would teens be any different? Suffering in silence isn’t a sign of courage. Tell your kid they can feel free to share if they’re in pain or discomfort. Show patience if they don’t feel like eating or seem irritated. Allow them to settle and get used to the huge change of wearing braces.
While it’s normal for wires and brackets to be uncomfortable, it usually gets better after a while. However, if you think some re-adjustment is necessary, don’t hesitate to call your dentist. An experienced dental care expert will explain all the steps of what to do after putting on braces. As long as you follow the instructions, you can rest assured the treatment will be successful with only minimal discomfort down the road!
Jessica Green is a healthy lifestyle enthusiast who enjoys writing about oral care, hygiene, and general well-being. A busy mom of two boys and a dog, when not writing, she loves walking her beloved Husky and doing outdoor activities with her kids. She is currently living in Las Vegas, and working with Stephen Spelman Dental Office to share relevant and reliable information.