The teenage years come with many exciting milestones. However, you also know that these years can also present specific challenges, such as orthodontic treatments. These treatments, while necessary, can prove to be stressful and uncomfortable for your teen – and that’s understandable!
But don’t worry. With the right information and support, you can guide them through this stage smoothly. This post aims to provide you with some practical tips to help your teen navigate the world of braces, aligners, and retainers with confidence and a smile.
Understanding the Challenges
Orthodontic treatment takes time and getting used to. There are bound to be bumps along the way. Whether or not you have had braces yourself, you can likely relate to some of the challenges and be there for them. Here are some of the issues that many teens with braces experience.
Discomfort and Pain
For many teens, the physical discomfort that comes with orthodontic treatment can be the most challenging aspect. This discomfort can range from general soreness to ulcers caused by the rubbing of braces against the inner cheek.
Teenage years are characterized by heightened sensitivity about appearance. This is why many teenagers feel self-conscious when they begin orthodontic treatment. They might worry about how they look with braces or how the treatment may affect their social life.
Orthodontic treatment often comes with a list of dietary dos and don’ts. Sticky, hard, or crunchy foods are generally off-limits as they can damage the appliances. This can be particularly tough on teens who love to snack on these types of foods.
Maintaining oral hygiene becomes even more critical but also more challenging during orthodontic treatment. There is an increased risk of food particles getting stuck, which can lead to problems like cavities and gum disease if not addressed.
Listening to and understanding the challenges is the first step, and it can be the most important. Often, they may need to vent and feel supported. Of course, you also want to help. So let’s move on to how you can help your teen tackle these challenges.
You can help your teen manage the physical discomfort associated with orthodontic treatment. Over-the-counter pain relief can be useful during the first few days after getting braces or adjustments. Wax can be applied to brackets that are causing irritation or ulcers in the mouth. Remind your child that these options are available.
You know that braces don’t change who they are or their worth. Encourage them to embrace their braces as a short way towards a healthier, more confident smile. Remind them that many of their peers are likely going through similar experiences.
Restricting your favorite foods can be a challenge for anyone. Make sure to stock your fridge and pantry with braces-friendly snacks your teen enjoys. Involve your teen in preparing brace-friendly meals and snacks that they enjoy. This can make the dietary transition more fun and less of a sacrifice.
Promoting Oral Hygiene
Teach your teen effective brushing and flossing techniques for braces. Consider investing in tools like orthodontic brushes and water flossers to make cleaning easier and more efficient.
Keeping an open line of communication with your teen throughout their orthodontic journey is crucial. Allow them to express their concerns and frustrations without judgment. Reassure them that their feelings are valid and that it’s okay to have good days and bad days.
Seeking Professional Support
Your understanding, patience, and support can make all the difference in helping your teen navigate these challenges with resilience and grace.
Remember, your orthodontist is a valuable resource. If your teen is struggling, don’t hesitate to reach out. We can provide solutions, recommend products, and offer guidance to make the treatment journey easier.
And remember, every day with braces is a day closer to achieving the beautiful smile your teen deserves.