No parent looks forward to having to sit their child down and tell them they need braces. After all, it’s a huge change we all know how scary changes can be! Your child may be nervous about embarking on such an important journey, and that’s natural. If they’re feeling less than enthusiastic about the whole process, we get it! Even as adults, we can be apprehensive about new things, especially when it involves changes to our appearance or lifestyles.
We see orthodontic anxiety a lot at Dudley Smiles Orthodontics. We treat many children and teens, and we know what a big leap this is for them! That’s why we put a lot of hard work into helping each patient feel comfortable with their orthodontic treatment, and confident in the care our expert team provides. Now we want to help you turn some of that apprehension into excitement at home, so we’ve put together a few of our favorite ideas for getting your child on board with braces treatment! Take a look below for ways to help if your child is scared of braces.
Together is always better
Millions of Americans are wearing or have worn braces before, but the early days of treatment can still feel a little lonely. If you or anyone else in your family ever had braces, dig out some old photos or yearbooks to show your child that they aren’t alone.
Let your child see how normal you looked (for the time….) and that you got it through it, too. You can remind them of all the celebrities who have had braces, too, starting with this list. Knowing those famous faces achieved their red-carpet smiles through orthodontic treatment can encourage your tween or teen that it’s all worth it in the end.
Go out with a bang!
It’s a fact that braces come with their fair share of annoying food restrictions. Instead of wallowing about all the things they won’t be able to eat, why not throw everything off-limits a special goodbye party? Go all out with themed decorations, games, and activities. Line up big bowls of popcorn, sticky and crunchy candy, pretzels, chips, and bubblegum, and invite everyone to dig into the foods your child will soon have to avoid.
Don’t forget dental hygiene, though! Throw in some toothbrushes and flavored floss as party favors, too.
Every journey ends
Whether a patient is in braces for a few months or even years, it can sometimes feel like treatment will last forever. There’s no “one size fits all” answer to how long a child will need braces since every patient responds to treatment in their own way, but the average tends to be around 18-24 months. To someone just beginning braces treatment, that may seem like an eternity, but it will fly by once they get used to them! Braces will be just another part of your child’s daily routine before you know it. Remind them often that all of their hard work will pay off when they have their braces taken off and get to see their beautiful new smile!
The braces of years past could be pretty awkward, bulky, and obvious. The good news is that modern models have come along in leaps and bounds! Today’s braces are sleek, comfortable, and more customizable than ever before. Depending on the type of braces your child will be in, colored bands for their brackets may be an option. This allows patients to choose their favorite colors, coordinate with holidays, or even show off their school spirit with a smile! Being able to express themselves through colored ties can make treatment feel more like fun and less like a hassle.
Make progress a celebration!
Make it a point to regularly update your child’s orthodontic progress with pictures! Start right before they have their braces put on, and keep track of their journey by photographing their smile every month or two. If they’re older, have them take a cute selfie! This will remind them of where they began and how far they’ve come, something that can be really encouraging on days when they’re feeling a little impatient. Are you or your child super creative? Put all the photos together in a time-lapse video you can share to celebrate their braces coming off when the time comes!
Supporting your family through braces treatment
It’s a big decision to put your child in braces, and we understand that it can make you both a little anxious. Your child may not thank you right away, but they’ll be grateful every time they get a glimpse of their beautiful smile in the future!
Dr. Dudley and our talented team are dedicated to providing your family with the most positive and stress-free orthodontic experience we can, from the first appointment to the last. We take pride in staying up-to-date on the latest in orthodontics and braces technology, and combine state-of-the-art techniques and equipment with a variety of treatment options. This allows us to offer the best in individualized orthodontic care to patients of all ages!
If you’re looking for information on orthodontic treatment for your child in Issaquah, Kent, and the surrounding communities, get in touch today to schedule your FREE consultation with us. Your child’s best smile is waiting for them at Dudley Smiles!