mother and daughter smiling

January 10, 2014

Parents: Tips for Your Child’s First Day in Braces

For a youngster, getting braces on their teeth can seem like the end of the world. Many children worry about how braces are going to affect their appearance. They’re also often concerned about the pain associated with having their braces tightened.

Dr. Peralta and his staff here at Orthodontics of Burien, your leading Seattle, WA orthodontic practice, want our patients to feel good about wearing braces. That’s why we’re offering the following tips to all you parents out there that can help your children become used to wearing braces on their teeth.

Dealing with Soreness and Discomfort

The first few days are the worst as far as soreness and discomfort are concerned. Remind your child that it’s normal for the teeth and mouth to be sore after having braces put on but also remind them that this discomfort only lasts for a few days. We do not want the discomfort of new braces to change your child’s daily life, and we don’t ask that patients change their schedule when they first get their braces. Rather, we recommend patients stay busy to keep their mind off of the discomfort. Your child can take over-the-counter pain medication such as Ibuprofen to help him or her deal with the soreness and discomfort if needed. You can help by preparing soft foods for the first few days. Foods like soups, mashed potatoes, yogurt, scrambled eggs, macaroni & cheese and applesauce are braces-friendly foods your child can enjoy while adjusting to braces.

Orthodontic Wax

You can pick up orthodontic wax at nearly any drugstore. This wax is designed to be placed on brackets and wires that may be causing sore spots on the inside of the mouth. Your child can use as much of this wax as needed. To apply it, just have your child squash the wax between his/her fingers and then press it onto the wire ends or brackets that are bothersome.

Dealing with a Self-Conscious Teen

If your child feels very self-conscious about wearing braces, remind him or her of all the celebrities who wear braces now or who’ve worn them in the past. Some famous faces with braces to mention include Faith Hill, Gwen Stefani, Emma Watson, Tom Cruise and Prince Harry. It also could prove helpful to tell your teen that wearing braces is very common and that most people are not at all judgmental towards people who are in orthodontic treatment.

Remind Your Child of How Great They Will Look When the Braces Come Off

Remind your teen that he/she is going to have a straight and attractive smile when the braces come off at the end of the treatment process. Consider finding some before-and-after photos online or at our website that clearly show just how dramatic a difference braces can make.

If your child is really struggling with his or her personal image after being fitted for braces, see if you can help in another area of his or her appearance. Maybe a new haircut would make your teenager feel better or even a new pair of shoes or shirt. You also can help your child cope with braces by complimenting him or her on other aspects of his/her appearance or by pointing out positive personality traits.

Go to Each Orthodontic Appointment with Your Child

It’s a good idea to go along with your teen when he or she has to visit the orthodontist to have adjustments made. This way you can find out first-hand how the treatment is progressing. You also will be given the opportunity to ask the orthodontist any questions you may have. When you’re present at each orthodontic appointment, you’ll be showing your teen that you support him or her every step of the way on his/her quest for an improved, straight smile!