5 Tips for Talking to Your Child About the Idea of Getting Braces
If your kid needs braces, they aren’t alone. Approximately four million people younger than 18 are wearing braces in the U.S. And, 4 out of every 5 are minors. But even though so many kids are going through this treatment, it doesn’t mean they won’t have questions. Many kids have anxiety when it comes to the idea of orthodontics. For this reason, we have put together some tips to help parents talk to their kids about braces. We believe that the more your kids know, the better the overall orthodontic experience.
Tips to Talking to Your Kids About Braces
Some kids experience anxiety before their orthodontic evaluation, worrying they will need braces. And when they finally find out they’ll need them, they’ll likely have many questions. Being open and honest with your child will make them feel like they are part of the decision and better understand what to expect and the benefits they will experience when the braces finally come off. Consider the following tips when talking to your kids about braces.
1. Practice open and honest communication.
We can’t hit this one home enough. Make orthodontics part of your everyday conversations, and don’t sugarcoat the experience. Braces are a time commitment, and some kids will need to wear their braces for one to three years. Even for an adult, this can seem like a long time. But for your kid, that time feels like an eternity. Understand that this entire concept might be intimidating, and accept their emotions. For some kids, braces can affect their self-esteem, inconveniencing them. No matter what you do, avoid under-validating their feelings.
2. Be excited if your child is excited about their braces.
Believe it or not, some kids will be excited about getting braces. They’ll look forward to sharing the same experience in which so many of their friends participate. Getting them might make them feel like they’re part of the in-crowd. So if your child is excited about it, be excited right along with them. The last thing you want to do is let your anxiety overshadow their enthusiasm. So embrace it and celebrate together the fantastic smile they will have when their treatment is over.
3. Talk to them about what to expect.
There are a few things your child should be prepared for when it comes to getting their orthodontic treatment.
- There will be some pain and discomfort for the first few days after they get their braces and each time they are tightened. But this discomfort is short-lived and can be easily managed with over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers.
- They will be limited in the foods they can eat. While your child is going through treatment, they will need to avoid popcorn, nuts, hard taco shells, gum, pretzels, hard or sticky candies, corn chips, and hard cookies or crackers. Parents may also want to avoid these foods during their child’s braces treatment, so they don’t feel alone.
- There will be several follow-up appointments throughout their orthodontic treatment. But don’t worry; the Must Love Kids team pulls out all the stops to make these appointments as efficient and easy as possible.
- They may need to wear a retainer after their braces come off. This is a great way to protect that investment for the years to come.
4. Be reassuring.
While it is vital to stay firm, parents should also be reassuring to their children. Reassure your child that lots of kids get braces, and they all come out better on the other side. Getting this treatment is essential for their oral health and will give them a smile to be proud of.
5. Encourage confidence and self-worth.
Teaching your child to embrace their strengths and accept their imperfections is a great way to build confidence. Though this isn’t something that should start just because your child is getting braces, it is essential to teach them that they are worthy. Here are some tips for teaching your child to be confident in who they are.
- Praise efforts, but don’t overpraise.
- Be a good role model.
- Avoid harsh criticisms.
- Teach consequences for poor behaviors, but ensure consequences fit the crime (don’t over or under punish).
- Focus on strengths.
- Teach your child to have a giving nature.
Must Love Kids Pediatric Dentistry is your partner for braces for kids.
If your child needs braces, the Must Love Kids team can help. Our board-certified dentists are family friendly and caring. We know you want the best for your children, and we want that too. Let’s work together to instill great dental habits in your child and a positive orthodontic experience.
Request an appointment for your child today and set them on a path to a beautiful smile they will be proud of.