If your teen is preparing to get braces, he or she may be feeling anxious about what the process entails and what it will mean for the next few years. The good news is that you can help your child to be better prepared for the process by taking time to explain a few basic things. The more you and your child understand about what's ahead, the easier the entire transition to wearing braces will be. Here are a few things that you should discuss with your child before the orthodontist's appointment.
There Will Be Some Pain and Irritation After the Initial Application
Your teen may be nervous about the idea of getting braces out of fear that they will be painful. While having braces applied can be uncomfortable and may cause a sore mouth for an evening or so after application, they won't be painful all the time.
In addition to the discomfort initially caused by the added pressure on the teeth, another common issue with new braces is irritation. The skin inside your child's mouth is sensitive, because it isn't typically exposed to any persistent abrasives.
This leads to some level of discomfort caused by the wires and brackets on the braces until that skin toughens up a little bit. It can take a little while before your child starts to notice less sensitivity to the metal on the braces, but the skin does become far less sensitive over time.
It's Going to Take Time to Speak Clearly
Adding braces will alter the lip, tongue and air movement inside the mouth, which is going to affect the way that your child talks. Let him or her know that the added bulk between the teeth and lips will do this, and encourage your child to practice talking in front of the mirror. The more that you can get him or her to practice, the clearer speech will become.
In addition, retainers and other typical orthodontic headgear can alter the way that your child speaks. Sometimes, it can even disturb the airflow exiting the mouth, causing a faint whistle that your child may find embarrassing. Gradually, he or she will learn how to adapt breathing and speaking to avoid this, but it will take some time and practice.
Orthodontic Wax is a Valuable Investment
Orthodontic braces are designed to hold up to a lot of wear, but that doesn't make them completely immune to problems. The good news is that many of the problems that do occur can be soothed, however temporarily, by orthodontic wax. For example, during the initial adjustment period, your child may find that some orthodontic wax applied to the brackets and wires will soothe the irritation inside his or her mouth.
In addition, if a wire comes loose on the braces, a little bit of orthodontic wax will cover the sharp edge of the wire while you're getting your child to the orthodontist. While you're there, ask the orthodontist to show your child how to fix some of the loose wires on their own. That way, you'll only have to make a repeat trip to the orthodontist if it's a wire that he or she can't fix at home.
Orthodontic wax is also great for covering the loose edges of a broken or separated bracket on your child's braces. While this isn't something that happens frequently, it's a serious concern when it does. If you don't deal with it right away, it can affect the integrity of the adjustment. If a bracket does break or come loose, you'll need to call the orthodontist immediately, but the wax will protect your child's lips from cuts in the meantime.
Reach out to a local orthodontist to find out more.