Despite the many options available for kids needing braces these days, most orthodontic corrections still require many of the same procedures and care. If you've never had braces, you may not know what to expect for your child. The more informed you are about what's ahead, the easier it will be to help your child through the transition, making braces a more positive experience. Here's a look at some of the things that you can expect through the adjustment stages and beyond.
When your child first gets braces, the added weight of the hardware can make his or her mouth feel very different. The bulk between the teeth and lips added to this extra weight can make talking feel different, too. Make sure that your child knows to expect the changes to his or her speech. If he or she is concerned, you can ease some of those worries by explaining that the changes will be temporary, just until the braces become a normal thing. As your child becomes more used to the braces, he or she will learn how to adapt to having them when talking.
Adjustment, Pain and Irritation
One of the biggest concerns that many kids have about getting braces is how uncomfortable they will be. Braces can cause some slight pain and discomfort, particularly when first getting them. Many kids experience some irritation on the skin inside the mouth until the skin toughens up a bit. If your child is complaining about a lot of discomfort, consider asking for some orthodontic wax to help cover the areas that are particularly problematic.
Loose wires are another common issue for kids with braces. If a wire comes loose, it's likely to poke your child's lip or cheek. Ask the orthodontist to show you how to put the wire back yourself, or be prepared to cover the exposed tip with a small piece of rubber or orthodontic wax until the orthodontist can see your child.
Adding braces to your child's teeth will create a lot of small cracks and crevices around the surface of the teeth. This can make it harder to keep things clean, which may result in some decay. This makes proper and attentive tooth brushing essential. Your child's orthodontist can provide some tips for keeping things clean, and may even be willing to provide some brief training to teach your child how to work around the braces when brushing.
If you're particularly concerned, ask about interdental cleaners and other tools to help combat buildup. You'll also want to make sure you're scheduling regular appointments for cleanings even after your child gets braces. Those professional cleanings provide a great opportunity to get things out of the smaller cracks around the edges of the braces.
Braces are durable enough to hold up to most daily tasks, but they aren't completely infallible. One of the most common issues that kids experience with braces is a broken bracket. Although it doesn't happen very often, failing to address it immediately can threaten the overall integrity of the braces. If a bracket does come loose, you'll need to call your child's orthodontist immediately. He or she should have a plan in place for situations like this, so you should be able to have it fixed quickly.
Wearing braces is a long-term commitment. In many cases, kids wear them for several years. If your child is facing the potential for braces, talk over these common issues together so that he or she can feel better prepared for what's coming. With the information presented here, you can address the uncertainties surrounding braces and help your child feel empowered and ready to face this new phase. You can also click here for more information on braces.