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How to Help Your Teen When They Have Braces

teenagers with braces
Orthoyl June 14, 2024
Is your teen afraid or nervous about getting braces?

If your teen needs braces, as a parent you are probably keenly aware of the long-term benefits and how much the reward outweighs the short-term inconveniences that can come with treatment. For a teenager, however, possibly insecure and focused on the present, the perspective can be different. Having braces may make them feel conspicuous and like they’re missing out on things their friends can do because they have to be mindful of their orthodontics. You know that this is a temporary situation with a happy ending they’re going to love. But there’s also a great deal you can do to help the experience of having braces be more positive for your teen.

Tips on how to bridge this issue:

Make Sure Your Teenager Understands: It may seem obvious to you why braces are necessary and what treatment will accomplish, but don’t assume your teen is as well informed. Take the time to share accurate information on their orthodontic treatment, why it is important, and what they can expect. Encourage them to ask their own questions when you visit the orthodontist, too! Understanding the big picture can help reduce resistance to the idea and help get them on board with the role they play in making treatment successful.

Be Patient: Even teens who know why braces are the best option for them and who tend to be responsible will have moments of “why me?” or make mistakes when they’re learning to take care of their braces. Being sympathetic and patient will help keep the channels of communication open so you can provide guidance as they get used to having braces.

Set the Stage for Oral Hygiene Success: The way a teen will need to care for their teeth when they have braces will be different from the oral hygiene routine they’re used to. Ensuring they have the equipment they need to do the job right is essential for promoting success. At B Orthodontics we feel so strongly in this step that we provide all the tools your teen will need, including a travel brush and case so they can brush after lunch at school. Every patient also gets to choose either a Sonicare electric toothbrush or a Waterpik water flosser as a gift from us when they start treatment. How can you help? Encourage them to follow our instructions on care practices and take them for regular dental cleanings throughout treatment.

Be Mindful of Food at Home: Having braces means there are foods your teen won’t be able to eat. Keep the pantry stocked with healthy foods that are braces-friendly, and banish hard, sticky foods from your home while they’re in treatment. They’ll appreciate not having it rubbed in their face that they can’t have popcorn or gummy bears when everyone else can while they’re at home. If they’ve had an adjustment recently, make sure meals include soft foods that they can comfortably eat. Teaching them to prepare smoothies or scrambled eggs will also help ensure that they can enjoy healthy snacks even when their teeth are sore.

Know How to Soothe the Soreness: Having braces fitted or adjusted can result in inflammation and soreness. Cold, such as from a cold glass of water or a dish of ice cream, can help soothe the ache. (Just be sure to have them brush after anything sugary!) Over-the-counter pain relievers can also help, especially if soreness is making it hard for them to sleep.

Provide Perspective: Times have changed, and so have people’s attitudes toward braces. It is much less likely that a teen’s peers are going to tease them about having braces than it was a few decades ago, and braces themselves are smaller, lighter, and less obtrusive. If you had braces, you know that the time you spent in treatment is short compared to how long you’ve had the bright, even smile those braces produced since. Sharing your experience may help your teen gain useful perspective and focus on what they’ll gain by diligently following their treatment plan. If you didn’t, try sharing a Google search on famous people who have had braces. You may be just as surprised as they are by the who’s who you’ll find, from Emma Watson and Cristiano Ronaldo to Zac Efron and Kate Middleton!

Creating a Lifetime of Healthy, Beautiful Smiles

Teens can naturally be apprehensive about how getting braces will change their life. At B Orthodontics, we’re here to provide the education, support, and expert treatment that help our patients achieve their goals—and helps their families be excellent partners in their orthodontic journey. To learn more about how we can help give your teen straight teeth and healthy bite they can enjoy for a lifetime, contact us here to schedule a free initial consultation today.

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