5 Tips on How to Help Your Child Adjust to Braces
Help your child adjust to their braces with ease.
Around age seven, many children will begin to get their permanent teeth. Whatever age this happens for your child, this is a big mile marker as far as growing up is concerned. However, this milestone means something very different for you. Your child is now possibly a candidate for braces.
Over 80% of brace wearers in America are children between the ages of six and 18, and your child could be one of them. To see if your child falls into this percentage, the first thing you need to do is take your child to a pediatric dentist for a dental exam. Though it will probably take a few visits for your child’s pediatric dentist to determine whether or not your child needs braces, you are still taking the first step in ensuring your child’s dental health. But if it is determined that your child does need braces, you will be presented with a new challenge: helping your child adjust to braces.
Children respond to braces in a range of different emotions, from excitement to indifference to fear. Whatever range your child falls into, there will certainly be some type of adjustment. As a parent, you want to make sure you are ready to help your child adjust to braces. The following article provides great tips that will show you how you can help your child adjust to braces with ease.
1. Have a talk.
Braces are a big change in your child’s life. Your child has probably seen braces or heard of them but has never experienced them firsthand. Of course, there will be questions about braces that you will have to answer. Your child may be nervous or even scared about braces. Educating your child on what braces are, how they will help your child’s teeth, and what your child should expect out of braces can help calm many fears they may have about getting braces.
If you do not understand how braces work or what they entail, a conversation with your pediatric dentist could enlighten you on how you should inform your child about braces. Including your child in this conversation may also give them an opportunity to ask questions that you may not be able to answer later.
2. Serve your child soft foods.
Once your child is ready to be fitted for braces, it is time to stock up on the soft foods. Usually, your child’s braces will be tightened every month. This causes sensitive teeth and makes it hard for your child to chew hard foods. Besides this, most hard foods, such as hard fruits and vegetables, are off the menu while your child is wearing braces. If your child is going to eat hard fruits or vegetables, you will have to cut the food into small pieces that your child can chew on in the back of the mouth. Soft foods are more convenient since they do not require extra preparation. This is an easy adjustment to make in your child’s life since children usually already enjoy things like yogurts, mashed potatoes, macaroni, and other tasty soft foods.
3. Use pain relievers.
You can be fairly certain that new braces are going to make your child’s mouth hurt. This pain can make your child cranky. Of course, as a parent, the last thing you want your child to be is upset or in pain. An easy remedy for helping your child deal with this pain is pain relievers. You can ask your pediatric dentist about pain relievers, such as ice packs, over-the-counter pain medications, and gels that can be rubbed onto your child’s gums. Cool foods, like ice cream or yogurt, are also great at soothing your child’s mouth and can help take their mind off the pain. Also, your pediatric dentist can give your child dental wax when their braces are put on. Dental wax puts a barrier between your child’s gums and braces, protecting the gums and other soft tissues from being agitated by any metal that might rub against them. You can try a variety of these options to find the pain reliever that best suits your child.
4. Remind your child about brace care.
When you were growing up, your major concerns were most likely not dental care. Your major focus was probably all about having as much fun as possible. The same goes for your child. Brace care is not at the front of your child’s mind, but it is still an important part of helping them adjust to new braces. If your child neglects brace care, this can lead to a mountain of problems. Besides straightening your child’s teeth, braces also have a knack for catching all types of food. If your child doesn’t clean out his or her braces properly, their teeth could start to rot, their gums could get infected, and your investment in straightening your child’s teeth could grow in cost. The best way to avoid this problem is to ask your pediatric dentist to carefully show you and your child the rules for brace care. Once you and your child are on the same page with brace care, it is essential that you help them remember and follow the rules that will keep his or her mouth healthy while wearing braces. Just a quick reminder for your child every morning and night should do the trick in helping them adjust to a regular brace cleaning schedule.
5. Focus on the benefits of braces.
Throughout the process of getting braces, your child could have one of a million reactions, and you don’t know if those reactions are going to be positive or negative. What should you do? You can’t control your child’s reaction, but you can control your own. Stay positive. Focus on the benefits of braces. Constantly remind your child how useful braces are and how they make beautiful straight teeth. This will help your child stay focused on the end goal and help them feel more positive about their braces. The more positive you are about your child’s new adjustment to braces, the more positive they will be.