The modern braces we use at Craig & Streight Orthodontics are a lot smaller, more comfortable and more attractive than they used to be. That being said, there’s still an adjustment period for kids and teens when they first get their braces put on. We promise, your child will get used to their braces quickly and pretty much forget they even have them. However, as a parent, there are things you can do to speed up this process and ease the transition. Here’s our guide to preparing your child for braces:
Schedule Your Child’s First Orthodontic Evaluation by Age Seven
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends kids see an orthodontist for the first time by the age of seven. Unless we spot certain red flags, Dr. Streight, Dr. Craig or Dr. Kierl will examine your child and then simply keep an eye on their growth and development over the years and let you know when the time is right to start treatment. These early visits let kids get used to the sights and sounds of the orthodontic office and develop a rapport with our team. When it’s time for them to get braces or Invisalign Teen, they’re more comfortable and less nervous because they have an idea of what to expect. However, if your child is over the age of seven, it’s never too late to come in for a consultation!
Consider the Treatment Options
When you have your complimentary consultation at our Mustang, Norman or South OKC orthodontic office, we’ll chat with you about the pros and cons of each treatment option we offer. One of the best tips for how to get kids ready for braces is to choose the treatment that works for your child and your family. When kids are comfortable with their treatment, the entire process is easier. We offer clear braces, metal braces and Invisalign Teen. If your child is extremely self-conscious about their smile and doesn’t like to draw attention to it, clear braces or Invisalign Teen might be the best choice. If they like the idea of braces and they’d love choosing colorful elastics to go with them, metal braces could be better.
Talk About the Braces Procedure
Talk with your child about the braces procedure and encourage them to write down a list of questions and concerns to bring to their consultation. Our team will explain exactly what happens when they get their braces put on and we’re always more than happy to answer questions. The procedure is completely painless and there are no needles involved. Most patients aren’t super nervous about the Invisalign Teen procedure but, of course, we’ll explain that in detail as well before we get started.
Chat About Your Expectations
It’s always a good idea to talk about your expectations for your child’s treatment upfront. Their treatment will be most effective if they practice good oral hygiene and keep up with appointments. For braces wearers, they’ll also need to avoid really hard, sticky and chewy foods and wear a mouthguard when playing sports to avoid damaging their braces. Invisalign Teen wearers can eat whatever they want but they will need to store their aligners in their case when they’re eating and drinking and remember to wear them for 22 hours per day. Making sure you and your child or teen are on the same page from the get-go is one of the first steps to take when preparing your child for braces.
Show Them They’re Not Alone
Some kids are absolutely thrilled about the idea of getting braces while others are more apprehensive. If you’re child falls into the latter camp, show them they’re not alone in wearing braces. If you had braces yourself, talk about your own experience and the positive effects treatment had on your life. Or, point out their friends and classmates in orthodontic treatment and show them pictures of their favorite celebrities with braces. Seeing other people confidently showing off their hardware can be helpful.
Stock Up on Braces Supplies
Another great tip for how to get kids ready for braces is preparing ahead of time. Go shopping together for the supplies you’ll need, including orthodontic flossers or floss threaders, orthodontic relief wax, soft foods and cold drinks. Maybe choose a few braces-friendly recipes that look good and get all of the ingredients to make them. Involving your kiddo in the process is an excellent way to get them excited.
Focus on the End Results
While it varies for each patient, braces and Invisalign Teen treatment tends to last between one and two years. That can feel like an eternity for some kids and teens. If your child is frustrated by the length of treatment or gets discouraged during the process, try to refocus them on the outcome, which is a fantastic, healthy smile. Look online together for before and after braces pictures so they can get a visual idea of just how amazing the end results will be.
In addition to these steps, Dr. Streight, Dr. Craig and Dr. Kierl are great resources for preparing your child for braces. We always fill our Oklahoma City, Mustang and Norman braces and Invisalign Teen patients in on everything they need to know, so they feel informed and confident about kicking off orthodontic treatment. To learn more or get your child started on the path to a healthy smile, book a complimentary consultation at Craig & Streight Orthodontics today!