For many children and teenagers, getting braces is necessary for their dental health aside from the cosmetic benefits. Unfortunately, this orthodontic treatment is often painful and difficult to go through, especially during the first few weeks of adjustment. How can you, as their parent, help them deal with the experience as effectively as possible?
Here are some of the best ways to support your teenager after they get dental braces:
1. Modify meal
When you get cosmetic dental veneers at a Salt Lake City dentist, for example, there are little to no changes to your diet. However, getting braces is a different story. The first few weeks of braces are undoubtedly painful. That said, eating is bound to be a challenge.
To keep your teenager well nourished without exacerbating their dental pain, serve them a soft diet composed of soft, non-chewy foods such as soup, jelly, purees, mashed potatoes, milkshakes, and oatmeal. It also helps to pack them a lunch for school every day so they don’t have to eat foods that are not braces-friendly at the cafeteria or worse–not get to eat at all.
2. Provide emotional support
When teenagers are reluctant to get braces even if it will improve their teeth tremendously, it’s usually because of cosmetic issues. Braces make a significant difference in one’s appearance, and your teen may be stressing out about how it will affect their face.
During this time, it’s important to remind them about why they got braces in the first place. Provide comfort when they are feeling insecure and give them reassurance about their looks. If it helps, show them before and after pictures of other people who had braces to reinforce the idea that they are working towards a better smile.
3. Promote proper oral hygiene
Dental hygiene with braces vs. without braces is slightly different. So when your teenager gets braces on, teach them how to take care of their teeth as per the dentist’s suggestions. Moreover, always stock their bathroom up with necessary oral tools such as an orthodontic floss or a special toothbrush for braces (if needed).
4. Join the struggle
When you’re in pain and can’t eat solid foods, it’s no help if someone was eating nacho chips in front of you. If you want your teenager to feel your support through your actions, join in their struggle as much as you can. Don’t eat crunchy foods in the house or order hard foods at the restaurant, at least for the first few weeks.
5. Stock up on cold foods and drinks
Eating and drinking cold things helps with the pain and swelling tremendously, so stock your refrigerator with foods like ice cream, popsicles, water, and fruit juices so they have something to ease their pain. After all, they will likely not be able to eat a lot of food, so having calorie-dense items in the fridge is also a great way to give them enough energy.
If you’ve never gotten braces before, it can be challenging to relate to what your child is going through. These are the best things you can do to help them cope after they go out of the dentist’s office with a new set of dental braces.