For a teenager, hearing that they have to wear braces may feel like the end of the world. Try out these tips for helping your teenager cope with wearing braces.
Approximately 4 million Americans have braces to straighten their teeth at any given time. Even though your teen isn’t alone, it doesn’t always make wearing braces easier.
Teens may struggle with self-image issues with braces. Lots of teens wear braces, but your teen may still worry about what others will say.
Other times it’s the discomfort or extra oral hygiene that comes with wearing braces that’s a pain for teens.
If you have a reluctant brace wearer, try these five ways to help your teen cope.
1. Explore the Options
Traditional metal braces aren’t the only option for teens. Discuss teen braces with your child’s orthodontist to see if Invisalign is an option.
The virtually invisible aligners eliminate the noticeable metal braces, which may help your teen feel more confident. They’re also removable, so they eliminate the food restrictions that come with regular braces.
Another perk of invisible aligners is comfort. They don’t typically put as much pressure on teeth as traditional braces, and they don’t have the metal and wires that can hurt the soft tissues in the mouth.
Get your teen involved in the decision-making process. Having input gives your child more ownership and may make braces more appealing.
2. Have Honest Discussions
Let your teen talk about their feelings about braces. It’s easy to tell them that everyone wears braces and it’s no big deal. But your teen has legitimate feelings about the situation.
Listen to those feelings and acknowledge them. Explain the importance of getting braces and why your teen needs to follow the care instructions to make sure the treatment is effective.
3. Educate Yourself
Make sure you understand what goes into the treatment. Traditional braces can feel uncomfortable. Your teen likely feels legitimate discomfort.
It’s also important to understand all of the care requirements for braces. This allows you to support your teen and ensure things get done correctly.
4. Be Sensitive to the Situation
If your teen has traditional braces, be aware of how it affects daily life. Food restrictions with braces include hard, chewy, sticky, and crunchy items such as popcorn, gum, and a lot of candy.
When planning meals, choose foods that are compatible with braces. Skip the banned snacks for the whole family. If you pop popcorn or buy a bag of sticky candy for the family, your teen will feel left out of the fun treats.
5. Set Expectations
Let your teen know the expectations for braces and follow-up care. If your teen has Invisalign, make sure you set the standard of wearing them the recommended 20 to 22 hours every day.
Teen Invisalign trays have little blue dots on them to show if your teen is wearing them long enough. If they follow the recommended wear time, the blue dots fade. This is an easy way to verify that your teen is meeting the expectations.
You can also set expectations for things like brush and flossing teeth and cleaning the Invisalign trays if that’s the option you choose.
Make Wearing Braces Easier
Your teen may not enjoy wearing braces, but you can make it easier with your support. Communicating with your teen and making the process as easy as possible can help.
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