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Have a Teen Who is Getting Braces? Here’s How to Help Them Adjust

More than 78% of the braces-wearing population is under the age of 18, but that fact probably won’t prevent your teen from feeling blue about having a mouth full of train tracks. Is your teen due for an orthodontist consultation or about to get their braces put on? Here are four tips to help them adjust.

Ask About Customization Options

Plain metal braces are boring, so let your teen express their style with custom bracket options. The bands that go around the brackets are available in every color of the rainbow, and your teen can mix or match them to complement an outfit, support their favorite team or celebrate an upcoming holiday. The best part is that the bands are replaced every four to six weeks so teens can have fun choosing new colors each time.

Consider a Less Visible Alternative

Older teens may find metal braces embarrassing, so discuss the option of invisible or less visible orthodontic treatments. Traditional braces are available with clear brackets and tooth-colored wires for a slightly higher cost. You can also schedule an invisalign consultation for a teen who wants a truly invisible option, but remember that clear aligners require more responsibility so make sure your teen is mature enough to handle it.

Provide Necessary and Useful Supplies

Make your teen a kit that includes braces essentials like flossers, toothbrush, toothpaste and orthodontic wax. You should also stock up on foods that your teen can eat while wearing their new braces. Soft foods like soup and pasta are great for the first few days after an adjustment, while non-sticky foods and sugar-free candies made with xylitol are great for snacking later on.

Keep Them Focused on Results

It’s easy for your teen to feel glum about having a mouth full of metal, so remind them of the payoff they’ll get when the braces finally come off. Ask your dentist for a before and after projection so your teen can get a visualization of how much nicer their smile will look. You can also talk to your teen about the potential health problems their braces are preventing, such as dental decay and temporomandibular joint disorder.

If your teen is struggling with new braces, remember to be patient. Compliance with the orthodontist’s instructions is important to achieve the best results. While it might be tempting to let your child learn from their mistakes, the outcome of their treatment will be much better if you offer gentle guidance and assistance instead.

Tim Esterdahl

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