10 Tips to Help You Talk to Your Child About Braces
Time to get prepared for braces for kids.
If you’ve had braces before, you know how much of an adjustment it can be. Though it is completely worth it in the end, making it easier to floss or brush your teeth, aligning your bite, or even fixing speech issues, it can take a little bit to get used to the new gear attached to your teeth. It can be daunting to guide your children through that very process, especially when they are still very young. Here are some tips to help you get your children prepared for braces.
1. Start the conversation early.
When it comes to a big change like braces, you don’t want to spring it on your child last minute. If you have enough of a heads-up, be sure to let your child know what’s going on. Now, keep in mind that how early you start with this depends on each individual kid and how they react to change.
2. Explain what braces are to your child.
Be sure your child knows what braces are and what they do. You want them to know why braces are even necessary, and what different kinds there are. By teaching them the ins and outs of braces early, you can ensure that you will be prepared to make decisions keeping insurance in mind.
Braces are often used to get those teeth into alignment. This helps with their bite, which can even affect how they eat and digest food as they get older. Taking care of those misalignments early can even make cleaning their teeth easier, or even help with certain speech problems.
3. Early Intervention
If your child needs to have braces before all of their adult teeth are in, be sure to teach your child why early interventions are important when it comes to dental health. Especially because there’s less of a chance that their peers will also be sporting braces at school. Some bite issues are easier to fix when they are younger. Sometimes, severe misalignments are impossible to fix once the jaw has finished growing.
4. Keep them involved.
Remember that it is important to have your child involved in the process of getting those braces. If they are able to choose the color of bands they get, let them! If they are able to help determine if they are candidates for Invisalign, let them in on the process. Even if it’s just something small, like the appointment time, let them have what control they can. You don’t want them to feel like they’re drowning in their own dental care.
5. Books and Videos
Find age-appropriate books about braces to help spark those questions. You can even find YouTube videos that go into depth on the entire process. Some are geared toward older children or even adults, and others are made with those little ones in mind.
Be sure to keep that line of communication open with your child—no matter their age. They are bound to have questions, and you want to be able to answer whatever you can. This is a really good time to teach your child how to communicate with their own dental staff. If there are any questions your kiddo has that you don’t have the answer to, bring it up to the doctor. How you do this depends on your specific child. Sometimes, they’ll be comfortable enough to ask the questions themselves. Other times, you might have to start up the conversation for them. If so, that’s okay! You want to teach them that it’s okay to ask!
7. Talk about what to expect.
Walk your child through the entire process in stages. How will the braces be placed? How long will they need to wear them? What about a retainer? And how will their eating habits change with the braces? You might want to alert them that they won’t be able to eat things like popcorn, hard or sticky candies, or hard taco shells while they have their braces on.
Always write down any questions they might come up with. If you don’t have the answer to it, you can always bring it up with your child’s orthodontist.
8. Encourage Them
Sometimes having braces can affect how a child feels about themselves. Be sure to encourage your child every step of the way. Teach them how to tell others about their braces, that it’s a measure to make their teeth nice and straight. It’s a good thing! Remind your child that a lot of children get braces. They likely won’t be the only one in their class who has them.
9. Cleaning Time
When it comes to the daily maintenance of those braces, try making a checklist to put on your child’s mirror. They can help make this by attacking the paper with stickers, markers, or whatever sounds fun to them. It could take a few times before they get the hang of everything, so it doesn’t hurt to have the handy list right there!
10. It Varies
Remind them that how long they wear the braces and then the retainer varies. Everyone’s progress is different. While one kid might need to wear them for a year, another might need two. And that’s okay. The orthodontist will make a specialized plan just for them.
At King Dental, we’re ready for that smile.
If you think your child may be a candidate for braces, be sure to give us a call or request an appointment online. We’d love to answer any questions you or your child might have about the future of their smile.