By: Dr. Kyle Fagala, DDS, MDS
Breaking the news to your child that they need braces can definitely be a daunting task! We know how nervous both children and parents can feel before setting out on such an important orthodontic journey. It's perfectly natural to feel a little less than enthusiastic about the whole process, considering braces are a pretty big unknown. Most kids are going to feel apprehensive about anything new, especially when it means changes in what they see when they look in the mirror.
SCO is no stranger to orthodontic anxiety, and we're determined to help each of our patients feel as comfortable as possible with this process. In the spirit of turning apprehension into anticipation, and fear into fun, we've put together a handy list of 5 ways to get your child excited about braces!
1. Throw a before-braces bash
We won't sugarcoat the truth - braces do come with their share of food limitations and that can be frustrating for kids and teens. Throwing a farewell party lets them say a temporary goodbye to all their favorite soon-to-be forbidden treats. Make it a big blowout and go the whole nine yards with decorations, games, and activities, as well as all the assorted foods your child will have to avoid while they're wearing braces. Guests can dig into big bowls of popcorn, sticky candy, and bubblegum, but don't forget how important oral hygiene is, even before braces. Also, considering I'm a dental professional recommending a candy binge to kids, let me go on the record by saying you should also throw in some party favors like toothbrushes and flavored floss! There. I feel better. ;)
2. There's light at the end of the tunnel
Braces aren't a life sentence! Since every smile responds to treatment differently, we can't guarantee the exact amount of time your child will need braces, but most treatments average about 18 to 24 months. Although that can feel like forever, it will fly by. When things are new or different, it might seem as though they could never be a normal part of life, but before you know it, braces will be just another feature of your child's routine. Remind them that whether it takes one, two, or even three years, at the end of this journey a beautiful, straight smile will be staring back at them in the mirror, and that the wait will be worth it!
3. Show them that they're not alone
Even though thousands of kids get braces every year, it can still feel a little bit lonely in the beginning. Did you or someone in your family wear braces? Dig out some of those old photos and let your child see how normal you looked (questionable hair and clothing choices aside, obviously!) There's also a long list of celebrities who have had braces, and seeing how those famous faces achieved their A-list smiles through orthodontic treatment can inspire your tween or teen to feel more at home with their orthodontic treatment. Braces don't necessarily define beauty, but sometimes it can help to make an association between a beautiful celebrity and the braces that got their smile where it is today. Also, there are many kids who are excited to get braces and even young adults who ask me frequently to leave their braces on because they like how they look. Ultimately, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and having a "brace face" should be something to celebrate!
4. We've come a long way, baby
Braces have an understandably poor reputation, given how clunky and obvious they were for much of their history. But modern braces have come a long way since the days of metal train tracks and headgear you could see coming from a mile away! Today's braces can look fun, even if they may not always feel that way. Depending on the type of braces that your orthodontist uses, or the type of braces your child is able to wear, colored bands for their brackets may be an option. In our Germantown office, we carry 24 different types of colors. This allows patients to choose their favorite colors, coordinate with holidays, or even show off their school colors with a smile. Being able to express some individuality through colored ties can definitely help to take a little of the bite out of braces.
5. Play up all that progress
Keep track of your child's journey by photographing them, or encouraging them to take selfies, starting from before they get their braces on. Make it a point to regularly update their progress with a picture! On the days when they're feeling down, being able to refer back to picture proof of how far they've already come can really help hammer home their continuing improvement, and remind them that the result is absolutely worth the effort! And, if you're really creative, take a photo of your child's teeth every day and then create a time lapse video when the braces are finished.
Braces by Saddle Creek Orthodontics
SCO understands the kind of anxiety that can often surround the decision to put your child in braces. We have an experienced team in place who are committed to working with you and your family, creating the most comfortable and stress-free orthodontic experience we can offer. We don't want you or your child to dread appointments, and we work very hard to make regular check-ups as rewarding as possible!
Whether you're a current patient or if you're looking for an orthodontic practice in Memphis, our team here at Saddle Creek Orthodontics takes pride in staying up-to-date on the latest in orthodontics and braces technology. We combine state-of-the-art techniques and equipment with comfortable treatments, flexible payment plans, and two convenient locations in Germantown and Collierville to ensure you're getting the very best in orthodontic treatment today.
Choosing to receive orthodontic care is a big decision, and while braces may not be the most popular choice you ever make for your child, it can certainly be one of the best! If you're looking for information on braces or Invisalign for children or teens in the Memphis area, our friendly staff in Germantown and Collierville will be glad to answer any questions you may have, and will provide all the information that you need to determine which treatment is right for your family. Get in touch with our practice today to schedule your free initial orthodontic consultation!
Have a great week!
Kyle Fagala, DDS, MDS