No doubt about it: it’s tough to watch your child struggle in their formative years. They don’t yet know who they are or where they fit in. They want nothing more than to belong, and you want nothing more than to help them.
Now it’s time to give your child the smile she deserves, a smile that can give her confidence so that she doesn’t feel she has to hide behind her cupped hand.
But how do you calm her fears, and how do you answer the inevitable question, “What will I look like with braces?”
Read on for tips on answering your child’s questions and easing her anxieties about getting braces.
The Dreaded “B” Word
Some children are over the moon at the thought of getting braces. For them, braces are another exciting step toward adulthood.
Many kids, however, are not so positive. In fact, many fear braces like they fear the plague–or their cell phone breaking.
Still, braces are often about more than vanity. They do more than give your child a picture-perfect smile.
Depending on the severity of the misalignment, crooked teeth can lead to serious health issues, both in the short term and years into the future.
Orthodontic issues can cause problems with speaking, chewing, and swallowing. They can cause chronic headaches and lead to bone and joint problems.
They can even make dental hygiene difficult, promoting tooth decay.
“What Will I Look Like With Braces?”
Now, more than ever, our children live in an image-obsessed world. In the age of the selfie, photographing well matters.
For better or worse, personal appearance has perhaps never meant more, especially to Generation Z, the children of the smartphone era.
What your child will look like with braces is going to be at the top of her list of concerns.
Your child will likely need constant reassurance that any effect on her appearance will be minimal and temporary.
Showing your child before-and-after photos can help your child understand the benefits of braces. She may even get excited about what her own smile will look like post-braces.
Metal Mouth No More
Children often worry about how they will look with braces because they have heard horror stories of headgear and metal mouths.
You can also reassure your child that braces are no longer the bulky, bright, bear-trap contraptions of yesterday.
Depending on your child’s specific condition, she will like to have a range of options to ensure her braces suit her own personal style.
Braces can now consist of an array of plastics, ceramics, and other materials that blend more readily with the natural tooth than do traditional stainless steel orthodontics.
Clear, virtually invisible aligners can treat many conditions, and your child can remove them for cleaning or sleeping.
Even if old-school stainless steel turns out to be your child’s best treatment option, she can have fun with her choice of colored elastic bands.
With each orthodontist’s visit, she will have the chance to select her new color(s). Maybe she’ll choose black and orange for Halloween or school colors to celebrate the homecoming game.
Giving her the option to design her style can help calm her worries about her new appearance.
Also, don’t forget that a few well-chosen pix of pretty girls and handsome guys with braces can work wonders as well!
“Will It Hurt?”
As your child prepares for her first visit to the orthodontist, chances are that her appearance isn’t going to be the only thing on her mind.
She’s also likely going to worry about what it will feel like. She’s probably going to wonder about the application process and it if will hurt.
This is where knowledge is power. Explaining the procedure in detail, from x-rays to application, can help alleviate your child’s fears.
Discuss with her what to expect during her first visit and for follow-ups. Talk specifically what will happen during the procedure to minimize any discomfort she might feel.
Your child’s orthodontist can be invaluable in this process, so scheduling a consult beforehand is a great idea.
This way, your child can get the facts straight from the horse’s mouth. Her orthodontist may even show her the instruments used and what she can expect to feel at each stage.
The opportunity to ask questions and express her concerns will help her to feel empowered in the process, proving that she has a voice in this process.
This way, getting braces is something happening with her, not to her.
Preparing for After
One of the most important ways you can calm your child’s fears is to work with her to prepare for life after she gets her braces.
Take her to the supermarket and allow her to select her favorite soft foods. Allow her to select the kind of dental wax she wants and let her watch as you stock up.
If her orthodontist recommends a particular over-the-counter pain reliever, ensure you have it on hand and make sure she knows it.
This will calm her fears of the discomfort she can expect after getting her braces applied or tightened.
Don’t forget about caring for the new braces! Allow her to select the toothbrush and flossers specifically designed for braces.
She will learn how to integrate her new braces into her normal daily life. The process will no longer seem quite so intimidating.
For many children, getting braces is a rite of passage, but it’s not always a welcome one. Children often ask “what will I look like with braces” and “will they hurt?”
With a little planning and a great deal of support, however, your child can sail through the process with minimal anxiety and even less discomfort.
Who knows, she may end up being as excited about her new braces as she is about the perfect smile that will follow!
Please contact us today to learn more about our orthodontic services and how we can give your child the smile of her dreams!