Your child probably has mixed feelings about getting braces. On the one hand, he or she will be happy to have straighter teeth. However, he or she may have feelings of reluctance and apprehension as well. There may be worry about how others will react to their braces, as most preteens and teens are self-conscious and worried about being teased. Your child may also be worried about the pain associated with getting braces. If he or she has friends with braces, they may have heard horror stories about visits to the orthodontist’s office, foods they will not be allowed to eat, and the the pain of having their braces tightened. Before your child gets his or her braces, you may need to alleviate his or her fears and make it into a positive experience. Read on for three tips to make getting braces less painful for your child.
Your child is likely worried about getting teased over his or her braces. Remind your child that many children their age have braces so it is very common and normal. Help your child by discussing the many positive aspects that go along with getting braces. He or she will get to pick their rubber band colors each time they visit the orthodontist. They will be able to choose favorite colors, match their school team, or choose colors to correspond to an approaching holiday. They can make a statement with their braces! And even better, focus on the results – braces will lead to a beautiful smile.
Most children have a fear of pain associated with doctors, dentists, and orthodontists. If your child has had one bad experience, they are likely to have a lasting fear. You will need to reassure your child that the pain associated with braces is minimal. Your child will be given wax to put on his or her braces to keep the metal from rubbing on the inside of their mouth. Getting their braces tightened may also cause some pain, but it is usually minimal and goes away after a short time. Remind them they will be able to take a pain reliever to help and if they are experiencing pain after getting braces or having them tightened, try to make the situation better by offering them a soft treat such as ice cream.
Your child knows that there are several foods he or she will not be able to eat while having braces and is likely not happy about it. These foods tend to be kid favorites – gum, popcorn, certain candies, and more. Your child may be upset about having to give up these foods for the duration of having braces, but remind them of all of their favorite foods that they can still enjoy. If your child is afraid about food getting trapped in their braces, make sure they always have a small toothbrush and a mirror on hand to check their teeth.
With some discussion and simple reassurances, your child will feel much better about wearing braces and will look forward to the beautiful smile they will have.