Most teenagers get braces at some point. Braces are a standard orthodontic treatment that can correct tooth and jaw alignment concerns. However, you may have some questions about what your child's orthodontic treatment will entail. Here are four things you should know about getting your teen braces:
1. Starting younger is often better.
Many parents are concerned about damaging their child's teeth by getting them braces too early. However, this doesn't need to be a concern. Braces are actually more effective when used from an early age. Between the ages of ten and fourteen, your child's bones are still developing, and this includes their jawbones. Braces can help gently shift your child's teeth and jawbones into a better position before their bones totally set. As long as your child has all their permanent teeth, they are a good candidate for braces.
2. Teens can be self-conscious about braces.
Some teenagers are very sensitive about their looks. They may be afraid of the drastic difference metal braces will make to their appearance. You can help by being encouraging and talking them through what they can expect. Remind your teenager that braces are only temporary, but they will create a beautiful smile that will last a lifetime. If your teenager is absolutely resistant to the idea of metal braces, they may be a candidate for clear aligners or lingual braces instead. Lingual braces attach to your child's tooth on the inside, near their tongue; this makes them more discreet than other types of braces.
3. Discomfort is to be expected.
At times, wearing braces can be uncomfortable or even painful. This is especially true right after your teen's orthodontist tightens their wires. Your teen might be particularly grumpy on these days, so try to cut them a little slack. You can help them manage their discomfort by reminding them to take ibuprofen or a similar pain reliever. Bite wafers are thin pieces of plastic meant to be chewed and bitten. Biting down on a bite wafer can temporarily ease the discomfort associated with braces.
4. Retainers are necessary.
The day your teen finally gets their braces removed is a momentous occasion. Your child will likely be excited to eat all the foods they couldn't have during their orthodontic treatment, such as popcorn and whole apples. However, orthodontic treatment doesn't end when the braces come off. Your child will need to wear a retainer constantly for a few months following their braces removal. Once the orthodontist clears them, they will switch to wearing their retainer only at night. Teenagers aren't always the most responsible, so you may need to remind them to wear their retainer.