Two teenage girls with braces smiling outside

Bracing Yourself For Their Braces

Why Do Children Need Braces?

Well, there are several reasons why children need braces beyond giving them a straight smile. They include:

  • To correct crowded teeth
  • To fix missing or extra teeth
  • To close extra spaces between teeth
  • To repair bite problems

When these orthodontic issues are not addressed, they can result in worn enamel, tooth pain, and chewing and speaking problems.

What To Expect With Braces

How long do children wear braces? How often do they need to get tightened? How will braces affect your child? There are a lot of questions that need to be answered to prepare children and parents adequately.

  1. What's it like getting braces? Frankly, it's a journey. You have a consultation, you get fitted, and you wear them for the prescribed amount of time. Extra time will be needed to visit the orthodontist and to perform oral hygiene every day.
  2. Does it hurt? It does at first. With the adjusting and tightening, it usually takes a few days for the discomfort to disappear. Soft foods, popsicles, ice packs, and over-the-counter pain relievers may help reduce your child's discomfort.
  3. How will it look? Visually, that depends if your child wants to add a pop of color to their mouth. Tinted metals and colored rubber bands allow your child to add their personal preferences to the experience. Although more expensive, clear braces are an option. Clear braces are made from plastic or tooth-colored ceramic material.
  4. How long does my child need to wear braces? Like a fingerprint or snowflake, every child's oral health and makeup is unique. So there is no exact timetable for braces. However, in most cases, the process takes 2 to 3 years.
  5. How can I help my child adjust to braces? Besides assisting them in changing to altering their diet and a more rigorous cleaning routine, listening and supporting your child emotionally and mentally can go a long way as braces can be a significant life change for them.

How to Take Care of Braces

Like a car or house, maintenance is huge when it comes to the cost and effectiveness of braces. In this case, maintenance is dental hygiene with braces. Turn the hygienic steps below into routines, and your braces journey will be a smooth one.

Rinsing and Brushing

  • 3-4 times per day, have your child rinse their mouth with water to loosen food that might be caught in the braces. Then brush thoroughly and correctly to remove the food that can easily be lodged in and behind the braces, creating pockets of potential decay. And each night before bed, have them use a fluoride rinse after brushing to help keep the teeth strong and healthy.

Flossing

Regular Preventive Care

  • Every six months, take your child to the dentist and dental hygienist for a cleaning and a checkup. Their dentist can point out areas that need more attention, help make sure you're keeping their teeth healthy, and clean in and around the braces more thoroughly.

Good Dental Hygiene Away from Home

  • When they're at home, it's easy. But when your child is in school or traveling, there are challenges. Send a travel toothbrush and toothpaste to school with your child, so they get in the habit of rinsing and brushing after lunch. And the same goes for road trips.

There's no doubt that getting braces is a significant commitment to you and your child. With the right expectations, preparation, and routines — wearing braces will be a positive experience. And remember, your orthodontist and dentist are always there to help you along.

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