4 Tips on How to Make Braces Fun for Kids

4 Tips on How to Make Braces Fun for Kids

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Braces are a great investment in the future of your child’s smile and their overall dental health. While children’s attitudes towards braces have shifted dramatically in recent years, many parents are still having a hard time convincing their kids to have braces installed and then properly care for them.

Wearing braces can be tough on your kids. It’s no secret that they cause a lot of discomfort, especially during the first few months. Plus, the dietary restrictions can be a real drag. That being said, your attitude as parents and how you approach the situation will define whether your child ends up enjoying or hating their braces experience.

Here are four tips on how you can make braces fun for your kids!

1. Get them customizable braces

Braces used to be exclusively made from metal that tends to flash whenever you smile. They were real eye-sores and kids who were them were often teased, bullied, or became the butt of jokes. Thankfully, orthodontics has come a long way since then.

Nowadays, braces can be customized according to the wearer’s style and preferences. Silver braces are still the most common, but gold-colored, tooth-colored, and invisible braces are also available if your child wants less-noticeable options.

You can make braces even more fun for your kids by having them pick the color of the rubber bands. The bands are changed regularly, so your child can look forward to changing them to another color at their next appointment. And just in case rainbow colored rubber bands aren’t enough to convince your kids to get braces, you can amp the “fun” factor further with fashion brackets. These come in different shapes and forms that children love – hearts, balls, stars, and even cartoon characters!

If you want your kids to enjoy wearing braces, you need to involve them in the decision-making process. Something as simple as letting them choose the style or the color of the rubber band can do wonders to their self-esteem.

2. Make visits to the dentist more enjoyable and rewarding

Most kids abhor dental appointments because they often get bored during these trips. Just think about it: if going to the orthodontist or dentist can feel like a chore for many adults, how much more for children? With a little bit of effort, however, you can turn these visits into something more enjoyable.

Turning dental appointments into a bonding time with your children will change their perspective about trips to the orthodontist. If you have plenty of time to spare, you can take them to do their favorite activities before or after every visit. If you’re busy, you can simply take them out for ice cream or buy their favorite food afterward.

Kids love being rewarded. Make dental appointments more worthwhile for your children and they’ll look forward to the next one!

3. Create a personalized food shopping list

The food restrictions that come with having braces is probably one of the biggest reasons why kids hate braces. The long list of foods to avoid includes gums, candies, pretzels, popcorn, pizza, and plenty of other treats that kids love to munch on. Hard and sticky food can stick to braces and potentially damage the wires and brackets.

Having to give up some of their favorite foods can make kids resent wearing braces, but you can make things a lot easier to bear by creating a list of tasty but braces-friendly foods and recipes that you can make together. You can also search online for more ideas and inspiration. Don’t forget to include smoothies, mac and cheese, ice cream, cakes, and pasta on the list. They’re a hit with children!

4. Compare before and after photos

For many parents, the struggle is in convincing their kids to get braces. If you’re going through the same problem, the Internet could be your best ally. Many kids loathe the idea of braces because they don’t like being singled out. This is why it’s important to make them understand that braces do not make them any different or less cool than other kids.

One way to make kids more comfortable with wearing braces is by showing them photos of actors, actresses, and musicians who had braces and how much better it made them look afterward. Famous celebrities who have worn braces in the past are Emma Watson, Miley Cyrus, Willow Smith, and Katy Perry. Using people that they idolize and look up to as examples can help make them feel better about the process. Moreover, seeing the great results from braces will encourage them to see their treatment through to the end.

When can children start wearing braces?

Parents should start taking their kids to the dentist for regular check-up by the time they turn seven, but at this age, it is too early for them to get braces.

It’s not recommended for children to get braces until they’re 12 – 14 years old or when their molars start to grow. Molars are often the reason why teeth crowd. It’s better to wait for these molars to arrive and see how they affect the teeth and smile before having braces installed.

How long do children have to wear braces?

No two smiles are exactly the same. Thus, the length of time it takes for a child to wear braces will vary depending on the condition of their teeth and how the treatment develops. Some patients have their braces taken off after just a year while others need to keep them for two and a half years, or maybe even longer.

It’s important for parents and their children to understand that treatment doesn’t end when the braces come off. Most cases will require additional orthodontic care, usually in the form of a retainer. The retainer helps ensure that the teeth stay in line as your child’s facial structures grow and develop. They are removable and are more convenient to wear than braces.

Should my child wear braces?

To find out whether braces are the right dental treatment for your child, schedule a consultation with your kid’s dentist.

Find an orthodontist to fit you or your child’s needs near you!

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Dr. Megan Peterson Boyle is the lead cosmetic dentist with Dental Studio 101 in Scottsdale, Arizona. She is focused on providing anxiety-free cosmetic dentistry services including invisalign, dental implants, dental crowns and cosmetic fillings. She enjoys spending time outdoors with her friends and family.