Dental Procedure Pain: Get the Facts

Tips For Helping Your Child Cope With Braces

You may not be happy when you learn your child needs to wear braces. Besides the expense, you may imagine the next few years filled with arguments about keeping the braces clean and not losing the retainer. However, wearing braces does not have to be a bad experience for you or your child. Here are a few tips for making the experience more pleasant.

Choose Kid-Friendly Braces

There are different types of braces your child can wear. Your orthodontist will determine the appropriate types based on the condition of your child's teeth. However, your child should have the option of wearing colored bands that are more kid-friendly. Unless your child has severe alignment issues, heavy metal braces may not be necessary.

Instead, your child may be able to wear ceramic braces or even invisible braces. If your child is older, invisible braces may be a good option because they have the least impact on appearance. These fit behind the teeth so they are less noticeable. Another option is to let your child wear invisible aligners that can be removed for brushing and eating. Just be sure your child is dependable and can be relied on to leave the aligners in all day while at school because they must be worn most of the day to be effective.

Make Dental Care Fun

One of the worst things about wearing braces is keeping them clean. Your child may get tired of labor intensive brushing all the time, so you might want to buy a water flosser. A water flosser is fun to use and may help your child be more effective at getting all the food out of their braces. Also, you'll want to make sure the braces stay as comfortable as possible. Keep wax dots around to cover wires that poke against the mouth and gums.

Agree On Snack Foods

Another problem with wearing braces is your child will have to avoid chewing gum and sticky candy. He or she will also need to avoid munching on hard things like ice and hard candy. Your child may be more compliant if he or she doesn't feel deprived. Agree on the types of snacks your child can have and keep them handy so your child can have treats when the rest of the family and friends munch in front of the television.

Also, be sure to prepare your child's favorite meals as much as possible. As long as you avoid hard and sticky foods, your child can eat a wide variety of meals. You may have to cut things into small pieces so they are easier to eat, but at least your child won't feel left out because of the braces.

Set Rules Early On

Since your child will wear braces for a few years and a retainer for a few years after that, you want to establish rules early on so you can avoid constant fighting about the braces. Your child needs to learn not to chew on pencils at school and to practice good dental hygiene. He or she must learn to say no to gum and candy from friends. Also, you want to make sure your child understands the importance of wearing the retainer and is responsible with it so you don't have to pay for replacements when it gets lost.

Since kids sometimes rebel against parental advice, be sure to rely on your family orthodontist for help. Your child may listen to your orthodontist, and if the guidelines are understood and accepted early on, you may be able to avoid behavioral problems associated with wearing the braces.