In the U.S., wearing braces is something of a rite of passage for many children and teens. While there are obvious benefits to undergoing orthodontic treatment, including improved oral health and straighter teeth (not to mention the biggest benefit for image-conscious young adults: a more attractive smile), your teen may have a difficult time dealing with the day-to-day responsibilities of wearing braces. However, if you apply these tips, you should be able to make wearing braces for your teen a positive experience.
Foster a Good Relationship with Your Teen’s Orthodontist
Depending on your child’s specific case, you, your teen, and your teen’s orthodontist will be spending time together on a regular basis. Orthodontists work with children and young adults on a regular basis, so most of them are accustomed to the best way to reach their patients to ensure maximum compliance with orthodontic treatment. Be sure to maintain a positive attitude and an environment that fosters open communication between your child’s and his or her orthodontist.
Find the Balance Between “Supportive” and “Bossy”
Let’s face it: older children and teens are not the most responsible people in the world (which comes as a surprise to no one). They will need to be reminded to brush and floss their teeth properly with the proper tool and to avoid eating certain foods (or, if your child wears Invisalign Teen, remember to put their aligner in after eating). However, being too harsh or too nagging can have a deleterious effect on your teen’s attitude.
Keep Needed Items in Stock
Throughout their orthodontic treatment, your teen will need special supplies to properly care for their teeth. These could include everything from special flossers and toothbrushes designed for cleaning around braces to ibuprofen or oral analgesic to ease sore mouths after braces are tightened. Keeping these items (as well as braces-friendly treats like yogurt and ice cream) on hand let your child know that you care and support them.