Braces are an amazing invention, straightening crooked teeth and correcting overbites in a few short years; however, your teenager may be worried about the drastic short-term changes to their life. The following seven suggestions can help you all make the adjustments and, for the most part, breeze right through the process.
1. Take A Close-Up "Before" Pic Now
Since getting braces can be very overwhelming to a self-conscious teenager whose very existence depends on the approval of peers, take a pic of their teeth now, so you can demonstrate the progress of the braces as they are worn. While it will take some months before teeth begin to straighten out, these before, during, and after shots should serve as motivation to your teen, letting them see how much better their teeth will ultimately look.
2. Let Them Know What They Can Expect With Braces
Aside from being self-conscious about how they'll look in front of their friends, it's also important that your child understand everything that's involved with getting braces, from the teeth that may have to be extracted to the retainer that will have to be worn once the braces come off. The entire process can take years, and that will seem like forever to a teenager; let them know what's going to happen in their mouths and the best way to handle each step.
3. Try Not To Crunch In Front Of Them
At least for a while after your teen has their new braces put on, avoid crunching on the favorite foods they can't have. It's not really fair to enjoy pepperoni pizza or crunchy tacos at the dinner table if your child is still on soft and safe foods. Once they adjust to their new diet, things should return to normal in your house, but just be sure to stock up on things that can be enjoyed by someone with braces, such as soup and yogurt. Those two items alone come in endless varieties; thus, finding a few your child will love shouldn't pose too much of a challenge.
4. Make Sure Your Child's Lips Are Always Quenched
Braces are literally a mouthful, and that can cause stretching and chapping of the lips. Since you want to avoid unpleasant side-effects for your child, see that they have a stash of quality lip balm to avoid the dreaded dry and painful pouts. Encourage use following meals, before bed, and any time they're going out into cold or windy weather.
5. Teach Them About Teasing
Unfortunately, your child may face teasing at school initially, and that can be rough. While friendly joking around might all be in good fun, your teen may take exception; however, if you help them understand the nature of teasing and teach them not to take it personally, they'll fare better.
6. Show Them All The Celebs Who Had Braces
If your teenager is like most, they adore a lot of famous people who look picture-perfect in movies and selfies. Take advantage of this adoration by showing them all the celebrities who also went through the rite of passage of braces. From one of the most beautiful and admired women in the world, Angelina Jolie, to the real prince charming of Great Britain, Harry of Wales, there are plenty of famous faces with braces to show to your child, proving that the strange apparatus going into their mouth is perfectly acceptable and well worth the effort.
7. Let Your Teen Design Their Own Retainer
Once those braces are off, your child can actually have a hand in designing their own retainer. This little device fits snugly around teeth to make sure they settle properly into surrounding tissue and bone, but it can actually be made much more exciting to a teenager if they are allowed to choose their own color, picture, or words. How about the logo of a favorite sports team or a puppy, peace-sign, or cartoon? Provided you approve, your teen may be over the moon to design a retainer with their boyfriend or girlfriend's name right on it, making that step in the process pretty cool.
While there may be some discomfort and weirdness involved, when all is said and done, you and your teen will be over the moon with the results of having worn the braces for a couple years or so. The teeth will be properly aligned, that overbite corrected, and in their place, the most beautiful smile you can imagine, making the effort very much worth everyone's while. For more information, contact an orthodontist in your area.