While childhood is the ideal time for orthodontic treatment, it may be daunting for some parents and caregivers to prepare their children for the changes that accompany treatment. Some days, wearing dental braces can be distressing for children – especially if there is mild discomfort after adjustments or if a wire comes loose. By helping your child focus on the bigger picture and all the benefits that accompany a straight smile, you can help offset some of the emotional difficulties associated with orthodontic treatment. Following are some tips for helping your child mentally prepare for braces.
Countdown the Course of Treatment
After our team has planned your child’s treatment, we can break it down into phases. From here, parents and caregivers can use poster boards, chalkboards, or calendars to give a visual representation of treatment. This will help youngsters understand the passage of time and help them celebrate even the smallest milestones – whether it is counting down a week or celebrating entering a new phase of treatment.
Take Progress Pictures
Since the process of tooth movement is slow, sometimes the results of treatment can be hard for those receiving treatment to notice. We encourage taking weekly progress pictures and keep them on a tablet, computer, phone, or have them printed and kept in a folder. This will make it easy to show children how tooth placement has changed over time. Having visual proof of the results of treatment can serve as a morale booster—especially on rough days.
Use Positive Reinforcement and Rewards
Wearing braces can make children more self-conscious and at times, they will experience mild discomfort from the pressure of adjustments. The stress of treatment may contribute to less-than-desirable behavior at times. Utilizing incentives for good behavior is a great way to help children maintain a positive, healthy attitude toward treatment. For instance, spending extra time at the park or letting your child pick a family-friendly film on movie night are great tools for encouraging good behavior and positivity.
To schedule a consultation for braces with our orthodontist, call our office at your convenience!