Not much thought is put into what life is like with braces, but there is an adjustment period when your child first has their braces applied. Don’t panic! Life, in general, will stay the same. But there are some tips that your orthodontist will share with you on how to ease your child’s transition into life with braces. Be sure to read through it carefully, and have your child read through it if they are at an appropriate age to understand. By following a few simple steps with your new adjustment, getting through the orthodontic process will be simple.
Keep them clean! Brushing your teeth when you have braces is a little bit more time consuming. It is important to brush after every meal to remove any food particles from getting caught around your braces. If you can brush after snacks too, that is great! Be sure to encourage your child to floss daily. Some children can get frustrated with the extra efforts that are required for their oral hygiene once their braces are applied. Find them special brushes and floss made specifically for braces to make the process a bit easier. Some parents find that keeping their child company during the tooth brushing and flossing process helps to keep them accountable and watch to be sure they are cleaning their teeth properly.
Change your diet. Your orthodontist will give you a list of foods you should avoid once your braces have been applied. We are not talking a drastic change in diet, but there are some foods you should encourage your child to avoid. In the first week of life with braces, try to stick to soft foods. There is generally a short period of discomfort as children get used to their new appliances. Try to avoid hard, brittle, or sticky food. Many chewy candies and hard foods can cause damage to your braces and lead to an extra appointment to the orthodontist.
Listen to your child. Many children find braces and orthodontic appliances to be embarrassing or leave them feeling uncomfortable about themselves. Listen to your child’s concerns. Fortunately, as technology has advanced, braces have become more and more discrete and less invasive. If you find your child is being bullied because of their braces, be sure to reach out and talk to someone at their school. Point out the other children that have had, have, or will be getting braces that they are surrounded by. Be a support to your child as they get used to their new look.
Ease discomfort. Braces usually don’t cause too much discomfort to orthodontic patients, but when they are originally installed or adjusted, they can cause some discomfort from the pressure. Encourage your child to eat soft and soothing foods, like ice cream, if they are experiencing discomfort from the pressure. Additional resources like pain killers and orthodontic wax can be helpful as well. If your child is having continued discomfort, be sure to consult with your orthodontist to make sure there is not an issue that needs to be addressed.
Remember, life with braces is just like life without. Just because your child now has braces, doesn’t mean they should be limited from carrying on their normal life. Extracurricular activities should and will continue for your child, but be sure to check into proper safety resources for your child’s mouth.