Helping Your Child Live, Laugh and Grow with Braces
When you have braces, your world gets turned upside down. Suddenly, you can’t eat your favorite foods. You have to draw up a battle plan just to brush your teeth. You have to go back to the dentist that you never really wanted to see in the first place.
Your kids are experiencing all this and more. Here’s how to make life easier for them.
First, the “do not eat” list. Kids hate this, but there’s just no way around it. Your kids will have to live with some restrictions. It’s just the nature of the braces they’re wearing.
Certain foods can break the wires that hold the braces in place (or the brackets). And, not only can it be a painful experience, it can make the treatment take longer than it otherwise would. So, if they break the rules, they’ll end up with braces even longer.
The shortlist of foods includes:
- Anything that’s hard or crunchy.
- Caramel and gooey chocolate bars and foods
- Very sticky foods, including chunky peanut butter
- Hard candies
- Chewy candy like taffy and gummy bears
Some other foods your children should probably not eat include:
- Chewy bagels or breads
- Corn on the cob
- Soda and other sugary drinks
And, they shouldn’t chew on hard things like pens, ice, pencils, or fingernails.
That pretty much kills the teen experience, and even small children don’t like these kinds of restrictions. But, the choice is that or they live with braces for a much longer time, and go through more pain and agony.
Why Your Child Needs So Many Follow Ups
Frequent follow-ups or adjustments are usually needed unless your child has self-adjusting braces. Even then, your child should periodically see the doctor. Skipping these follow-up appointments can slow progress and make it take much longer. It might also require your child to need braces for a longer-than-necessary time.
Most orthodontists recommend a follow-up every 4-6 weeks.
Your dentist will always replace the elastic bands on each bracket and might take out and replace the wire too. Each adjustment typically takes only 20 minutes.
This is the not-so-fun part. Sometimes, it does hurt. According to this NYC orthodontist , most patients are sore for anywhere from a few hours to a few days after an adjustment. The feeling might be mild to unpleasant pressure to more significant pain. But, the good news is it doesn’t last long.
Most patients have to wear braces for between 1 and 3 years, which is a significant chunk of time.
Basic hygiene consists of brushing, flossing between meals, wax, lip balm, and, of course, drinking plenty of water to keep the saliva flowing. If your child has hooks, wear the rubber bands all the time except when they’re brushing their teeth.
Braces are a really common thing, and most people end up wearing them at some point during their lives. If your child is self-conscious, that’s understandable. At the same time, it should be pointed out that this will only be temporary, and that it’s necessary.
Ben Tucker is a Father who works at a dental practice. He enjoys writing in his spare time, using family life and his dental job for article topics usually.
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