For teenagers, having the wrong look can be the end of the world. Two things that are at the top of that list of “the worst things that could ever happen” are having to get glasses or braces.
In reality, teen braces aren’t that bad. You just have to do a little prep work after you find out your son or daughter is going to have to get their teeth straightened. Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can pave the way for an easier transition to braces and pick the best option available to fit your needs.
Helping Your Teen Cope With Braces
Once you realize your child needs braces, your next move is to help them understand why they are needed and why it’s going to be ok.
It’s difficult for a kid to understand, but you’ll have to get them to focus on the outcome. After they have gone through wearing their braces, they’ll have a perfectly straight smile that they’re going to love. Reinforcing that the braces aren’t going to be on forever and frequent reminders of the prize at the end of the rainbow can help ease the mental burden.
You can also help them realize that there are a ton of other kids who have to wear braces. Knowing they’re not alone can go a long way in helping them be receptive to getting those braces on instead of just dreading it.
After they start wearing braces, you’ll have to help them deal with the look. One of the best things they can do is just own it. If you get traditional braces, you can get any number of crazy color combinations. Go wild with it! Make it part of your look instead of being embarrassed by it. It’s like a whole other accessory to complete your ensemble.
If that idea doesn’t go over well, you can always try to draw attention away from the braces. Go with a color that more closely matches your teeth. Girls, especially, can do this. Instead of wearing a bright-colored lip gloss, try doing something a little different with eye makeup or wear some flashy earrings.
Guys might have a little bit more trouble accomplishing this, but one thing they can try is getting a new haircut. Pulling the attention from your mouth to the top of your head could help you feel more like people aren’t just staring at your teeth (even though they probably aren’t anyway, don’t forget).
Last but not least, try to sympathize with them. It’s going to be a little painful at times, and they aren’t going to be able to eat all of the things they may be used to eating.
Keep an over-the-counter painkiller on hand for those times where a little pain flares up. Adjust your grocery list so you don’t have things in the house that they can’t eat, like apples, chips, and hard candy. If you forego those things with your kids it will help them feel like they aren’t being left out instead of watching you chow down on a bag of chips. Just be considerate.
Exploring the Options
The type of braces you end up choosing will narrow down what kind of approach you should take in helping them successfully straighten that smile. You’ve got a few main options to choose from.
While they have gotten improvements over the years, traditional braces are the first thing everyone thinks of when they find out they’ll have to get treatment for crooked teeth or a misaligned jaw.
With this method, your teen will have a metal bracket on each tooth. Those brackets will have a metal wire connecting each bracket. Those wires are connected to the bracket using an elastic band. Those bands are where your teen can pick any combination of colors depending on what kind of look they’re going for.
When it comes to traditional braces, there are a few things to consider. This is going to be your cheapest option. Depending on your financial situation, that could be the deciding factor.
That lower cost comes with the caveat that traditional braces can be a little more tricky to maintain. The wearer will have to make sure they’re cleaning around the brackets and in between the wires to maintain proper oral hygiene.
If your teen is a little more forgetful, traditional braces might be the way to go because they won’t have to remember to take them out before eating and put them back in afterward, as is necessary with something like Invisalign. That will also ensure the time the braces have to be worn won’t be extended due to simply neglecting to wear them.
The ceramic variety of teen braces function the same way as traditional braces. The difference is they are made of a transparent or clear ceramic material that is less noticeable than metal braces. They will blend in more with your teen’s teeth. They can also be effective more quickly than traditional braces, meaning your teen won’t have to wear them as long.
As you may have guessed, those perks come along with a slightly higher price tag. It’s also a little more imperative that your teenager practice very thorough oral hygiene with ceramic braces. If not regularly cleaned very thoroughly, this type of braces can leave stains on your teeth.
There’s a pretty good chance Invisalign will be your child’s top choice. It’s a series of clear trays that are molded to fit the wearer’s teeth. Each new set of trays will help shift the teeth slightly until the desired movement is achieved.
These are basically invisible when worn, which totally eliminates the biggest issue most teens seem to have with wearing braces. The downside is they’re going to be more expensive. You’ll also need to make sure your son or daughter is extremely responsible. It will be up to them to take out the trays when they eat and put them back in when they’re done. If they aren’t worn often enough, it’s going to prolong the amount of time it takes to get the teeth straightened.
Even if Invisalign or another type of clear tray-type device ends up being your preferred choice, you still might not be able to use them. Some more extreme cases or certain conditions aren’t treatable with this method, so you’re limited to traditional or ceramic braces.
Making the Decision
Ultimately, you’re going to have to sit down with your orthodontist to really flesh out which option is the best for your situation. Using this information, you’ll be able to have a good idea of what your preference is beforehand, but when it comes down to your teen’s individual needs and what you can afford, that preference might not be an option.
Either way, supporting your teenager through this in every way you can is going to make it a more successful treatment and a more pleasant experience for the whole family. Good luck!