Orthodontic treatment can be a very big change in anyone’s life, especially for children. As the parent of a child who receives early treatments, there are so many questions and things to consider. While the best treatment options, pricing, and insurance coverage all need to be discussed with an orthodontist directly, here is a list of things to keep in mind to make your child’s life (and yours!) easier with braces or other treatment.
Your child will need to visit the orthodontist more frequently than a normal dentist, so be prepared as they may have to miss time from school for appointments. To properly guide the treatment progress and assess if any changes need to be made, appointments will usually be scheduled every 6-10 weeks. But make sure to keep scheduling regular checkups with the dentist as well!
While the length of treatment varies for each patient and their individual treatment plan, the average time is somewhere around 18-24 months. Following all of the orthodontist’s instructions is key to ensuring that the treatment goes as quickly and smoothly as possible. A year and a half or two years may seem like forever but the time will fly by before you and your child know it.
During the first week or so when your child first has their braces, they will most likely feel discomfort and soreness. This will go away as their teeth and mouth get used to having braces, but can return after their appointments when the brackets and wires are tightened and new elastics are put on. Here are a few tips to help:
-Cold drinks and food are great for pain, soreness, and inflammation (ice packs work too!)
-Always keep some orthodontic wax handy. If any brackets or wires are rubbing or poking the insides of your child’s lips, cheeks, or gums, simply roll a small amount of wax between your fingers to soften it and apply it to whatever is causing the discomfort.
-Gargling salt water can also help with sores that develop by reducing irritation.
-Massaging gums gently with fingertips can also alleviate soreness and swelling
Make life with braces easier for your child by putting together a “Braces Survival Kit” to have everything they need available to them at school or going out somewhere. Here is a great list to keep them ready for anything:
-Travel Toothbrush and Toothpaste
-An Interproximal Brush (aka Interdental Brush)
-Floss Picks and Floss Threaders
-Extra Elastic Bands and an Elastic Band Hook
-Listerine Breath Strips or Pocket-Spray
-A carrying case will keep everything together to easily fit into a bag or backpack
Many kids are active in sports, and one of the most common questions asked is whether they can continue to play sports with braces. The answer is yes! As long as you make sure that your child’s mouth and braces are protected, there’s no need to stop playing. Look into getting an orthodontic mouthguard, which is specially designed for people who wear braces or other orthodontic appliances.
Sometimes a wire may snap, a bracket might pop off of a tooth, or something else unexpected may happen. If something like this does occur, it is best to contact the orthodontist immediately. Depending on what has happened, it may require an “emergency visit” to their office to fix the problem.
Having a child with braces can seem stressful with so many changes, but there’s no need to worry. Our incredible team at Georgia School of Orthodontics in Atlanta and Gwinnett, has created thousands of great smiles and has all the knowledge they need to help you and your child adjust to life with braces, making sure that your child’s treatment process goes as smoothly as possible.