Teens already have a lot on their plates and plenty of things to worry about. Think pimples… awkward dates… and bad hair days. They’re basically a rite of passage.
Teens facing braces treatment may have conflicting emotions about braces and may feel a bit overwhelmed with the changes they’re about to experience. Hey, we get it! Our orthodontists have treated thousands of cases with braces; we understand the anxieties teens have.
Parents, this one’s for you! Use these tips to help your teen prepare for their life-changing treatment experience.
1. Schedule a professional cleaning at your dentist.
Before we can start teen braces treatment, your child will need to have a professional dental cleaning. This is an important precautionary measure that ensures your teen’s teeth are clean, healthy and strong. We want to make sure there are no underlying dental issues or concerns that could worsen during their treatment.
It’s important that your teen has a strong foundation to support a beautiful set of healthy, happy teeth.
Your dentist will make sure that there is no decay in the teeth before we place your teen’s braces. If your teen has had a dental clean at least six months before their braces appointment, we can start the process!
2. Have some empathy!
Putting yourself in your teen’s shoes will help you develop more empathy, patience, and understanding for them as they’re going through this transition. Talk to your teen about their concerns. Reassure them that there’s a major light at the end of the tunnel—and the light is a brilliant smile that lasts a lifetime.
If they’re concerned about the appearance of braces, show them pictures of their favorite celebrities or YouTube personalities wearing braces. These won’t be difficult to find; plenty of celebrities have worn braces and Invisalign to achieve a Hollywood smile.
(Justin Beiber used Invisalign; Emma Watson and Kendall Jenner had braces, and so did Zac Efron and Tom Cruise!)
If your child is still concerned about the appearance of braces, remember we offer Invisalign® for teens who prefer a more discreet treatment for the same cost as braces!
3. Adjust the family menu!
When your teen first begins treatment, he or she may experience some minor tenderness or soreness during the first 2 weeks or so. As his or her teeth and gums are adjusting to the pressure of their braces, it may be best to opt for softer foods.
Eating softer foods can help minimize this discomfort. Stock up on foods like mashed potatoes, chopped or sliced fruits, mac ‘n’ cheese, applesauce, oatmeal, etc.
Foods and candies that are especially sticky, hard or chewy, will take a temporary hiatus from the menu. You can use this as a chance to try something new for the whole family! Add some new foods to the mix and spice up your palette.
4. Prepare a braces kit.
Having braces requires a little more discipline in the dental hygiene department, and you don’t want your child to neglect their smile while they’re out and about. It’s a good idea to create a braces care kit that they can carry with them whenever they go out or head off to school. Here are some ideas for your teen’s braces kit:
- Travel-size toothbrush and toothpaste to keep braces free of debris after meals
- Dental wax to ease irritation or protect the mouth from wires or brackets in the event that they become loose
- Floss to clean between the teeth after meals
- Tylenol or another over-the-counter pain reliever if your teen is experiencing some soreness
- Small pocket mirror to floss or brush teeth on-the-go
5. Make sure they have a mouthguard for sports!
Your child doesn’t have to sit on the sideline during their orthodontic treatment! A mouthguard is essential for protecting the teeth and braces during an impact. If your teen incurs an impact by colliding with another player or taking a ball to the face, there’s a chance that they damage their mouth or another player—with or without braces.
This is why mouthguards are critical for creating a barrier between the object of impact, and your child’s mouth. Our office will provide you with a special mouthguard for braces so he or she won’t have to sit out on any practices or games.
(Your child should be wearing a mouthguard with or without braces anyway.)
Your teen has options!
Remember, your teen has options! If he or she is still hesitant about braces treatment, it may be best to consider Invisalign treatment. We are Invisalign Diamond Plus providers, and Dr. Insoft and Dr. Hurst have treated more Invisalign cases in the last 15 years than any other Invisalign providers in Pinellas and Manatee Counties!
Find out if your teen is a good Invisalign candidate right from home; get started with a free virtual consultation.
Still have questions about preparing your teen for braces?
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions! We love to hear from you. We’re here to guide you through your treatment process, from your very first visit to your last appointment.