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Helping Your Child Adjust To Braces: Three Things To Know

by Andre Daniels

If you never wore braces yourself, it can be difficult to tell your child what he or she can expect from the orthodontics process. The more that both of you understand about the transition, the easier it will be for you to help him or her along in the process. Here's a look at some of the things you can expect your child to experience and some tips to help deal with them.

Irritation and Pain

One of the first things that many children ask when getting braces is how they will feel. Braces can cause some discomfort when they're first put on the teeth, and some kids struggle with a little bit of irritation on the skin inside the mouth. This irritation typically occurs as a result of the metal brackets rubbing against the sensitive tissue inside the mouth. In most cases, this irritation only lasts until the skin inside your child's mouth toughens up a bit from exposure to the material. You can help ease this discomfort by asking for some orthodontic wax to apply to any of the brackets that are particularly bothersome.

Trouble with Speech

In the initial adjustment period after getting braces, the extra weight of the brackets and wires can make your child's mouth feel very full. The extra material between his or her teeth and lips will make talking more difficult at first. Make sure that your child understands that the braces may alter the way he or she speaks for a little while, just during the initial adjustment period. Once your child becomes accustomed to having the braces, the speech difficulties will ease.

Keeping Them Clean

Adding braces to your child's teeth creates small cracks and crevices around the brackets. This can make it more difficult for your child to keep his or her teeth clean. The orthodontist will be able to provide some tips for keeping the teeth clean around the braces. If you're concerned, ask about an interdental cleaner to help combat any plaque buildup. And, remember that just because your child has braces, that doesn't mean you don't need the routine dental visits – they're just as important now as they were before.

Wearing braces typically means a commitment of a year or more for most kids, which means that your child has some adjustment ahead. Talk to him or her about these issues before getting the braces because that will help to ease the uncertainty and allow the two of you to create a plan to deal with any issues.