So your teen came home from school and said, “Mom, Dad, I think I need braces!” Or maybe he or she just had a professional dental cleaning and the dentist told you it may be time for your teen to visit an orthodontist.
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 in Wesley Chapel, North Tampa, South Tampa and East Bradenton; we understand the anxieties teens have.
Parents, this one’s for you! Here’s how you can support your teen with braces to make for a comfortable transition.
1. Schedule a professional cleaning at your dentist.
Before we can start placing braces on your teen, they 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 when we begin treatment.
It’s important that your teen has a strong foundation to support a beautiful set of healthy, happy teeth! If your teen has had a dental cleaning at least six months before their braces appointment, we can start the process.
2. Have some empathy!
Put yourself in your teen’s shoes to develop more empathy, patience, and understanding for them as they’re going through this transition. Talk to your teen about their concerns. Being a teen with braces can sound tough, but 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.
(Justin Beiber used Invisalign; Emma Watson and Kendall Jenner had braces, and so did Zac Efron!)
If your teen 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, they may experience some minor tenderness or soreness during the first 2 weeks or so. As their teeth and gums are adjusting to the pressure of their braces, it’s 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.
Being a teen with braces requires a little more discipline in the dental hygiene department. You don’t want your teen 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 when 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 teen doesn’t have to sit on the sideline during their orthodontic treatment! A mouthguard is essential for protecting the teeth and braces in case of an impact. If your teen collides with another player or takes 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. Blue Wave Orthodontics is proud to be a certified provider of custom performance mouthwear!
Don’t Forget – Your teen has options!
Remember, your teen has options! If they are still hesitant about braces treatment, it may be best to consider Invisalign treatment. As an Invisalign Diamond Plus provider, we have the most experienced Invisalign doctors in the area. Our practice has the collective experience of successfully treating more than 4,500 patients with Invisalign!
Find out if your teen is a good Invisalign candidate right from home! Get started with a free virtual consultation.
Still have questions about supporting your teen with braces?
Getting braces as a teen is a big moment! If you’re looking for more helpful tips on being there for your teen with braces, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions! We’re here to guide your teen through their treatment process with ease.