As many parents know, effectively communicating with children can be an exercise in patience, even if the subject matter is as simple as, “What do you want for dinner?” So when faced with talking about something more significant, like getting braces, your best chance at communicating clearly is preparation. The good news is, when it comes to talking about getting braces, we’ve got 20 years’ worth of experience in broaching the same subject. Below, we’ve laid out some tips and conversation points to help make the talk as easy as smiling.
Putting them at ease with information
While the idea of getting braces might seem commonplace to most of us, the concept of putting metals and wires in a mouth can be daunting to your little one. But fear not! Many of the fears that accompany new experiences can be dispelled when plans are laid out, expectations are set, and myths are debunked. Shedding light on the unknowns will go a long way toward calming their nerves and can transform initial anxiety into potential excitement. To help, we’ve listed some talking points that will have them looking at this experience in a new, more positive light.
Getting braces put on doesn’t hurt. Despite what many think, the actual process of having brackets and wires put on is painless. However, most patients will experience a varying degree of soreness following their first treatment. We believe it’s best to be honest with your child about the potential soreness to help manage their expectations from the start. And if your curious preteen or teen has any additional questions about their first visit, please feel free to contact us any time. You can also read all about that initial visit here.
So, uh, how exactly do braces work? This is a question we get a lot from new patients, and even some parents too. And while our doctors would be more than happy to go into the science and technology behind orthodontics, for the purposes of talking to your child, here’s a quick overview.
Braces align teeth by exerting pressure on them. Over time, the wire and rubber bands on the braces will move the teeth into a straighter position. The pressure is a gentle force that’s applied in a very carefully controlled direction. And because each smile is different, the doctor schedules regular appointments to make minor adjustments and ensure everything is moving in the right direction.
Debunking braces’ myths
We’ve already covered the “getting braces hurts” myth, but it isn’t the only one. Kids and adults alike have been hearing and spreading misinformation about braces for years. With these rumors spreading far and wide, there’s a good chance your child might have some unnecessary worries. To help clear the air, we’ll cover some of the well-known ones, and few odd ones too.
1) Braces will set off metal detectors. False! The metal used in orthodontic treatments is comprised of titanium alloys, which do not set off detectors.
2) Braces will rust. False! For the same reason they won’t set off airport alarms, the metal used in braces and retainers are completely rust proof.
3) The metal in braces was invented by NASA. True! While many myths surrounding braces are just plain wrong, this one is absolutely true, and pretty awesome too! The titanium alloys in orthodontia were invented by NASA as a lightweight and sturdy alternative to heavier metals.
4) My braces will attract sharks. False! Ok, so this one isn’t as widespread as the others, but we thought it was interesting, nonetheless. Some people originally believed that shiny brackets would cause unwanted attention from marine life. Now that’s what we call a whale-of-a-tail!
5) I can’t play sports or an instrument with braces. False! While you may need to make a slight adjustment when playing your favorite instrument, it’s still very possible to play. As for sports, wearing a mouthguard, something you should probably be doing anyway, is a quick fix when playing your sport of choice.
The bottom line
Whether your child is nervous or excited about the process of perfecting their smile, having a conversation about what to expect is a great idea. The important thing to remember is that this entire process results in a straighter smile that they can proudly display for the rest of their lives!
Ok, so what’s next?
Now that you’ve had the talk, we’d like to meet you! During your free consultation, our doctors will spend time answering any further questions you or your child have about orthodontic treatment. We’ll even go over several affordable payment options and financing plans to ensure that you feel comfortable pursuing treatment. Choose from our four convenient locations around Alabama including Trussville, Alabaster, Hoover and Greystone and schedule your free consultation today. We want everyone to have the smile they deserve. That’s why our team will walk with you and your child through treatment starting at the very beginning.
Schedule your first visit today, and Smile More with Birmingham Orthodontics!
At Birmingham Orthodontics, our mission is simple: we create smiles. Not only do we straighten the crooked grin, fix the bite, and adjust the jaw, we brighten yearbooks, and instill confidence. We also believe in our staff. Our culture of continuous learning drives us to host monthly training sessions for each team and bring in leading industry consultants to help keep us ahead of the curve. Contact us for a free consultation, or with any questions you might have.