If your child needs braces, they may feel a mix of excitement, nervousness, and maybe even a little fear. As a parent, you're likely experiencing these emotions as well.
Braces are a common orthodontic treatment that can improve your child's smile and oral health. In some cases, they are even necessary for proper dental development. We'll go over the basics here, including why braces may be necessary, what to expect during treatment, and how to care for them once they're on so your child is ready by appointment day!
Why Your Child May Need Braces
There are a number of reasons why your child may need braces. Some common reasons include the following:
When the teeth in the top and bottom jaws don't line up correctly, it's called an improper bite. This can cause difficulty chewing and speaking and can lead to tooth wear and damage.
When there isn't enough room for all of the teeth, they become crowded. This can cause tooth decay and gum disease, as well as make cleaning difficult.
Gaps between teeth
Also known as diastema, gaps between teeth can be caused by a number of things, including thumb sucking, early loss of baby teeth, or genetics. They can also make it difficult to clean the teeth and may cause speech problems.
How to Prepare Your Child for Braces
Though your child may be feeling mixed emotions about their new braces, there are ways you can help them prepare so they feel comfortable going into treatment.
Explain the Treatment to Them
Once the orthodontist has determined that your child would benefit from braces, it's important to involve your child in every conversation.
Be sure to answer any questions they may have, and explain that while there may be some discomfort initially, they will quickly adjust. It's also important to remind them that everyone's experience is different, so their braces may not look or feel exactly the same as others.
Prepare Them for the Food Restrictions
One of the most difficult things about having braces is getting used to the food restrictions. It's important to explain to your child that there are certain foods they will need to avoid, such as:
- Hard candy
- Chewy candy
- Other hard or chewy foods
Make sure the house is stocked with plenty of soft, braces-friendly foods like applesauce, yogurts, mashed potatoes, and soups.
Gather Supplies Ahead of Time
There are a few things you'll need to get for your child before their braces go on, including:
Toothbrush and toothpaste
Be sure to get a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste designed for people with braces.
Floss and floss threaders
You'll need to floss your child's teeth at least once a day, so be sure to have plenty of floss and floss threaders on hand.
Mouthwash can help keep the mouth clean and free of bacteria.
Orthodontic wax will be your child's new best friend! This product is used to cover any sharp edges on the braces that may be causing discomfort.
Remind Them of the Positives
It's important to remind your child that many positives come with braces, such as:
A straighter, healthier smile
- Improved oral health
- The ability to eat the foods they love
- Better self-confidence
In the end, they're sure to have a straighter, healthier smile they are proud of!
Teach Them How to Care for Their Braces
Caring for braces is important to avoid complications and ensure treatment is effective.
Here are a few tips for your kid:
Brush and floss regularly.
Be sure to brush at least twice a day and floss once a day. It's also important to use fluoride mouthwash.
Avoid hard and chewy foods.
As we mentioned before, it's important to avoid hard and chewy foods as they can damage the braces.
Be careful with sports.
If your child plays sports, be sure to have them wear a mouthguard.
See the orthodontist regularly.
It's important to see the orthodontist for regular check-ups and adjustments.
Pediatric Dental Services in Phoenix
Getting braces can be tough for kids, but by involving them in the process as much as possible, you can help make their transition into treatment much more manageable. If your child is in need of dental care, the Total Kids Dental team is here to help! Schedule a consultation with us online or by calling (602) 610-0338.