The end result is fantastic — but sometimes, for a self-conscious teenager, wearing braces can feel like a lose-lose situation. Either they don't get braces at all and keep their crooked teeth, or they do get them and have to live with the metal brackets on their teeth for as long as two years. That's a long commitment for anybody, especially a teenager. However, it doesn't have to be as bad as all that. Here are a couple of ideas for helping the process to go more smoothly, or at least to feel less uncomfortable for your teen.
One of the few things you can control about the appearance of metal braces is the colour of the elastic bands holding the wire in place. It sounds like a small thing, but allowing the wearer to choose which colours they'd like — and maybe change those colours when the wire is replaced or tightened — may let your teen feel like they have a little more control over the situation. Besides, the colours do make a big difference. Suggest a two-colour pattern, or even a rainbow if they're brave enough.
Keep It Comfy
Orthodontic braces aren't usually uncomfortable. Once you get past the initial oddity of having them in your mouth, your teen will mostly forget that they're there. After all, they're custom pieces fitted precisely to work in their mouth specifically. However, all that can change quickly if a problem develops. If a metal bracket starts rubbing the inside of your teen's cheek or against their gums, that will get painful very quickly. As such, be sure to keep checking in that nothing feels sore. That way, you can catch these problems before they develop. Your dentist will be able to assist. Oftentimes, this will be in the form of safe wax to place over the problem area — but there are a whole plethora of solutions that can be tried.
After the braces have come off, your teen will feel like celebrating — and with good reason! However, both you and they should know that the process does not end with the removal of the metal brackets. If they don't wear their retainer as often as the dentist requests, then all the good work they've done by enduring their braces can be undone in a matter of weeks. Their teeth can and will slip back, so don't let this happen to your teen. Set good habits as soon as the braces are out, and ensure they stick to them.
Frankly, the idea of wearing braces is much more intimidating than the actual sensation of it. As such, the main thing your son or daughter will need is support and encouragement. However, keeping your mind on the above points will make sure that things go exactly to plan. Good luck!