By the time your child reaches the teen years, problems with tooth positioning become obvious because their permanent teeth have erupted. Your dentist might recommend braces to close gaps and straighten teeth so your teen has an improved smile and so there is a better chance of maintaining good oral health through adulthood. While your teen may not be excited at the idea of wearing braces, the end result is worth it, and you can help the process be as easy to endure as possible. Here are some ways to make braces easier on your teen.
Talk To Your Dentist About Clear Trays
Your child might be a suitable candidate for clear aligner trays rather than metal or ceramic braces. These aren't a good match for every teen. One consideration is the type of treatment the braces have to provide and another consideration is compliance. Clear tray braces can be removed, and if your teen removes them too often, they won't work very well. However, since they are clear and nearly invisible, your teen should feel less self-conscious about wearing them than traditional metal braces.
Change Your Family's Eating Habits
If your dentist gives your teen aligner trays rather than braces, then your teen can remove them at mealtime and eat their usual diet. However, if your teen gets metal or ceramic braces, they can't be removed. Your teen will be restricted in the foods they can eat because sticky foods are difficult to remove from braces and crunchy foods can cause damage to the metal parts. You can make meals more pleasant by serving foods for the family that your teen can easily eat with braces. This shows your teen the entire family is supportive of the changes necessary when wearing braces and it removes the temptation to eat foods they should avoid.
Keep Chilled Snacks Available
Mouth soreness is common from wearing braces. Your teen's mouth may be even more sore after a dental appointment and an adjustment of the braces. One thing that can help is cold drinks and foods. These reduce swelling and help with pain. Keep ice for ice water on hand, and stock the freezer with frozen fruit pops or ice cream so your teen can grab something cold when experiencing discomfort from their braces.
Encourage Brushing And Rinsing
Your teen might be miserable enough without also feeling like you're nagging them about brushing and rinsing to keep food out of the braces. However, it's important to practice good oral hygiene in order to prevent cavities while the braces are on. Find a way to encourage your teen to follow the dentist's instructions for oral care without causing strife. If your teen feels encouraged and supported, they may be more likely to comply with instructions. Encouragement and supervision are also necessary when the braces come off and your teen needs to wear a retainer or if your teen gets the aligner trays.
Braces are common during the teen years so your child won't be the only one wearing them even though they may feel singled out. If you're lucky, your teen might even want to wear braces if they're embarrassed by their misaligned teeth. Depending on the condition of your teen's teeth, they may need to wear braces for several months to a few years, and they'll need your support and encouragement during all the readjustments, discomfort, and frustration they may face.
For more information, reach out to a orthodontist that specializes in teenager orthodontics.