According to the American Association of Orthodontics, your little one should start having dental screenings by seven years of age because this is the time when their adult teeth are forming, yet their gum tissue and bones are still pliable enough to manipulate if any treatments become necessary. If you find that your child needs braces during a screening, they might feel scared or hesitant about the prospect due to being "different" from the other kids at school. Here are a few things you can do to make your little one feel better about wearing their braces:
Make it Fun
An excellent way to make the experience of wearing braces more positive and fun overall is to buy them colorful rubber bands. Colorful bands will give your little one the ability to express their individual personality and create a customized style of their own. They'll have something cool to show off to their friends, who will likely be a bit envious of their cool tooth "bling" when spending time at school.
The colors of your child's rubber bands can actually stimulate their body and mind while being worn, so choose colors that will encourage positivity and a good mood. For example, the color yellow tends to invoke happiness and motivation, and hues of blue keep blood pressure levels low and the mind calm.
Focus on the Positive
More than likely, wearing braces will feel a little uncomfortable and inconvenient, at least for the first few weeks. It's crucial that you don't let them dwell on the negative aspects, and instead, focus on the positive things that result from wearing braces. Every time your child has a complaint, you should acknowledge those feelings but then counter them with positive ideas.
Focus on the outcome of straight and healthy teeth that they can expect once the braces come off. In addition to offering your own positive insights into the situation, engage your little one by asking them about all of the benefits they feel they'll receive by wearing braces. Making this a habit will help decrease complaints and encourage a healthy outlook on the need the wear braces.
Make Oral Hygiene a Priority
When debris and food get stuck in braces, it can lead to bacterial infections and make wearing braces even less comfortable. To minimize the chance that small pieces of food gets stuck in the metal of your child's braces, it's important to make oral hygiene a priority throughout the day. Any healthy oral hygiene skills your child learns and makes a habit will likely stay with them as they age into adulthood.
So consider putting a calendar on the wall and let your child put a sticker on each day that they remember to brush their teeth twice without being reminded. Once a week of stickers have been collected, present them with a small prize, such as a new designer toothbrush or glow-in-the-dark dental floss, for their accomplishment.
Host Regular Play Dates
Another effective way to boost your child's confidence levels is to host play dates regularly for them and others in your neighborhood who also wear braces. These dates will give your child an opportunity to spend time with other kids who may also feel different due to wearing braces. They'll be able to realize that they are not the only ones with braces in your community and make them feel more confident when spending time with other kids who don't wear braces whether at school, in the park, or when riding their bike down the street.
During the play dates, you and the other parents can work together to educate the kids about proper oral hygiene techniques by doing projects together, like making homemade toothpaste and practicing tooth brushing skills. You can also use your time together as adults to provide each other with extra support when it's needed.
Don't let yourself become frustrated if your little one complains or becomes upset about having to wear braces—just incorporate these tips into your life and acceptance is sure to follow quickly. Check out a clinic like Cobbe Dental & Orthodontics for more information.