Despite the myths of children being afraid of going to the dentist, nearly 70 percent of children report liking the visit to the dentist. But even so, if your child is heading to get braces and undergo orthodontic treatment, they’re probably going into it at least a little bit worried.
Nearly 5 million Americans—most aged under 18 years old—wear braces and undergo orthodontic treatment. This can be scary for a child, so if you want to minimize your child’s discomfort, it’s important to prepare your children for braces and the orthodontist.
Check out our five tips to help your child through it.
1. Talk to Your Child About the Orthodontist
By talking to your child about the options for orthodontic treatment, you can keep your kid in the loop.
Ask your child questions about what they want. For instance, what color braces would they like? Do they know why they need braces?
Also, allow your child to ask you questions about the treatment. Make sure they know that if they are unsure about anything, they can also ask the orthodontist questions.
It’s usually recommended young adults and children have metal braces, but it’s essential that your child knows why. It’s because metal ones are often seen as the most reliable and cost-effective method of straightening teeth.
2. Establish Basic Expectations
Does your child know what to expect from the orthodontist treatment?
Your child has probably never spent so long in a dentist’s chair before this. But you can reassure your kid that fitting braces is a standard and common procedure. There is nothing to worry about.
You can also tell your child that the procedure won’t be very painful. Although it will feel quite uncomfortable for a few days after the procedure, this discomfort does calm down after a while.
3. Buy Lots of Soft Foods
The discomfort caused by having braces fitted can make eating hard and chewy foods unpleasant. That’s why it’s advisable to stock up on soft foods. This includes foods like:
- Ice cream
- Mashed potatoes
- Yogurt, and other chilled foods
By making sure you have a full fridge in preparation for your child’s appointment with the orthodontist, you can save yourself time later.
4. Buy Orthodontic Wax
During the few weeks after the braces have been fitted, it’s common for your child to experience mild irritation or mouth sores due to the braces. Although this will fade over time, applying orthodontic wax can help ease the pain.
“Braces wax,” as it’s also known, forms a protective layer around the brackets, which reduces rubbing on the mouth. You can usually receive orthodontic wax free of charge from your dentist.
5. Emphasize the Positives
When you’re only a child, a couple of years can seem like a lifetime. That’s why it’s important to emphasize the positives of wearing braces.
Encourage your child to fantasize about how their teeth will look once the braces are removed. Show your child pictures of famous people (like these of Gwen Stefani to Prince William) who have undergone the turmoil of braces and come out the other side with wonderful smiles.
Preparing Your Child for Braces or Orthodontic Treatment
It’s totally understandable that your child would be worried or afraid of getting braces or orthodontic treatment. However, you don’t have to despair as a parent. By following these five tips for preparing your child for visiting the orthodontist, you can help ease your child’s fear and discomfort.
And if your child needs orthodontic care in Milwaukee, Brookfield or Racine, find out more about our orthodontic services by getting in touch with us today.