Tips for Helping Your Child Overcome Objections to Braces
Being a teenager is hard.
Life can be stressful as a pre-teen and young teenager. Your child is likely worried about fitting in with their peers, all while learning to accept who they are as a person. Adding braces to the mix makes things a little more difficult.
Another common fear is whether or not braces are painful. Sometimes all they need is to hear one horror story at school to let those worries take on a life of their own.
It’s important to listen to your child every step of the way, addressing any of their worries and concerns so they can have a positive orthodontic experience.
Understanding and Validating Concerns About Getting Braces
Even before social media took over the world, it was common for children to worry about their appearance. When your child learns they need braces, that might be the very first worry that comes to mind. Listen to them, and offer as much encouragement as you can. Remind them that many of their peers will also be getting braces of their own soon and that they will be far from the only children at school with new bling.
Another common worry your child might express is that the braces might cause some discomfort. The pressure on the teeth can be a little uncomfortable, but it shouldn’t be overwhelmingly painful. Any tenderness will only last a few days after adjustments as their teeth grow used to it.
With braces comes an entirely new oral health routine. Flossing is more complex, brushing can be strange with wires in the way, and suddenly certain foods aren’t suggested. The lifestyle changes can be overwhelming at times. Help your child make a checklist to care for their teeth, and make them a fancy bag to take with them to school. Let them know that it’s okay to be overwhelmed at first, but it will get better!
Though you might not be able to take all of your child’s worries away, realize that just listening to them can do a world of good. Sometimes they just need an ear to listen, and that’s okay. Answer what questions you can! If you need some extra guidance, we have the frequently asked questions all ready for you!
Any questions you can’t find the answers to, have your child write them down and take them to their next appointment. This is a great time to teach them about how important it is to communicate with their dental team.
Emphasizing the Benefits and Positive Aspects
When talking about your child’s upcoming appointment, be sure to mention the positive sides! Make sure they realize all of the long-term benefits that come from braces. It’ll be easier to care for their teeth, and they will be able to smile confidently at school. If they were teased for an underbite, overbite, or even severe misalignments, those issues might not be there anymore! Remind your child that it will also limit the chances of costly, difficult procedures as an adult.
When your child is worried about appearance, don’t be afraid to brag about the advancements in orthodontic technology. Remind them that braces can be all sorts of colors now, giving your child a chance to express their personal style in new ways! If that isn’t their thing, remind them that sometimes clear aligners can be used instead!
Creating a Supportive Environment
When talking about braces, try to keep the conversation positive and supportive. Don’t downplay their worries, acknowledge them, and truly do your best to understand them. Yes, that includes if they are complaining about the same thing for the 50th time—your support matters to them!
Have celebrations each time a new milestone is hit. Be sure they realize it’s a big deal, and their progress deserves to be celebrated.
The entire staff here at Must Love Kids Pediatric Dentistry has a passion for working with children, no matter where they are in their oral health journey. We pride ourselves on our child-friendly approach to orthodontic care, giving our patients the chance to smile confidently!
Take the time to listen.
A large percentage of adolescents get braces at some point in their childhood, but that doesn’t make the experience any less nerve-wracking. It’s important to keep an open line of communication with your child, answering whatever questions you can, and listening to any worries they might have. The time you take to truly listen to their concerns is more valuable than you realize!
Don’t forget to remind your child of the positives that come from orthodontic treatment. Not only will it be easier to care for their teeth, but it will drastically lower their chances for more difficult orthodontic treatment in the future.
If your child is in need of an orthodontist evaluation, don’t hesitate to request an appointment! We look forward to helping your child’s smile be the best that it can be!