Although kids once dreaded the rite of passage that were braces, orthodontics for kids have become both less obtrusive and more socially accepted over the last few decades. Still, many children have trouble getting used to life with braces, and your child may have some initial misgivings about them from both a social and physical standpoint. As your child adjusts to his or her new orthodontics, keep these potential issues in mind to help him or her make the transition with as few complications as possible.
Keeping Your Child Informed and Involved
Even if your child gets braces at a very young age, you should always explain why the braces are needed and how they will help your child's teeth in the future. This simple act can put the braces into perspective and improve your child's attitude by appealing to his or her sense of responsibility. Similarly, you should listen to your child when discussing his or her orthodontics; a nagging pain, an odd sensation or bullying at school can all be mistaken for minor complaints and lead to major problems later on if not addressed quickly.
Managing Initial Discomfort
When your child first gets braces, there will likely be some initial aches and pains that should go away within a few days. Warn your child about this in advance and emphasize that it is only temporary, and then follow pain management guidelines as outlined by your dentist. Typically, over-the-counter pain-relief medicine is enough to nurse a child through the first couple of days. Any pain that persists or causes real distress should be examined by your dentist to check that everything is healing correctly.
Accommodating Dietary Restrictions
Braces are usually not quite as restrictive as they once were, but your child will still need to watch what he or she eats. Young children may take some time to learn what foods are and are not acceptable to consume with braces, and any slip-ups may lead to damaged orthodontics. In order to make this transition easier and enforce good habits, it may be better to switch the whole family to a braces-approved diet until your child is comfortable with the new arrangement.
Encouraging a Positive Perspective
Most of all, always frame braces as a means to achieve a healthier and more beautiful smile. By treating braces as a privilege rather than an imposition, you can bolster your child's self-confidence before that first day back at school, when kids are most likely to engage in bullying behavior. With the right attitude and sensitivity to your child's fears and anxieties, you can ensure that the transition to wearing braces is as smooth and uneventful as possible.