You may have been thinking about orthodontic treatment for your child for a long time, but that doesn’t mean your child knows that braces are on the horizon. And at some point, after you realize that braces or other treatments may be necessary for your child’s teeth, you might find it difficult to broach the subject.
However, as parents, we know that these conversations are very important. How you bring up braces and talk about treatment can influence how your child feels about their treatment. So, we put together the following advice for talking to your child.
When to Talk About Braces
If you suspect your child may need braces or clear aligners down the line, you may want to start bringing up the possibility early. This would potentially allow your child to get used to the idea of braces in his or her future. If orthodontic treatment is imminent, it is time to talk about it.
Talking About Orthodontic Treatments
Talking about orthodontic treatments can be tricky. Remember, you know your child best, so you are the perfect person to guide them at this time. Of course, even when you know your child well, it is not always possible to predict their reaction or anticipate their questions, so trying to be prepared for the conversation is a good idea.
Focus on the Good
Point out the benefits of orthodontic treatment so your child does not only focus on the negative. A straighter smile will likely make your child feel better about their appearance. It can improve their dental health (potentially meaning fewer fillings in the future).
Remind your child that braces or aligners are temporary, and many of their peers have or will have them as well. If you choose clear aligners, they will be nearly invisible, and most people won’t even notice your child is wearing them. If your child is likely getting braces, let them know how fun it can be to customize them with colored bands.
Give them Control Where You Can
Involving your child in the process may help them to be more invested and feel better about getting orthodontic treatment. Discuss different treatment options that may be available (braces vs. clear aligners, for example). Also, consider seeing more than one orthodontist, both to get a second treatment opinion and also to allow your child to choose the practitioner they feel more comfortable with.
Help Them to Prepare
Worry often comes from fearing the unknown. Do some research about the braces process, and be prepared to try and answer your child’s questions and help them know what to expect. Most importantly, make sure to listen to their concerns. You may not be able to predict what, exactly, will worry them.
Answer questions you think you may have some knowledge about, and if you don’t, do some research together. Explain that the first visit will simply be a consultation. Encourage them to write down all of the questions in anticipation of meeting their orthodontist.
Be Prepared to Be Surprised
Your child may surprise you and be excited about getting braces. This happens more often than you may think. Your child may already be self-conscious about their smile and could welcome the chance to straighten their teeth. Also, your child may know other kids their age with braces or aligners and may view orthodontic treatment as joining in on a common social norm (in other words, being one of the cool kids).
If this is the case, match your child’s enthusiasm. Answer their questions, of course, but don’t make the mistake of pushing a negative perception on your surprisingly cheerful child.
Schedule a Consultation
By having open and honest conversations about braces, your child can feel more prepared for this big change. Schedule your first appointment with our office; initial consultations are free! At your first visit, you will learn what treatment options are available for your child, and you will both be able to ask all of the questions you have.