It’s not easy to convince your teenage children that they need braces. Not that you really need to convince them, per se—when a medical professional like your orthodontist tells you your children need treatment in order to maintain their smiles and oral health, you know it’s going to happen.
But orthodontic treatment for teenagers can be traumatic—at least in their minds. They imagine metal wires sticking out of their mouths and constant ridicule from friends and strangers. It can be a tricky path to travel emotionally, so it’s best to go in prepared.
Here are five things you need to know when considering braces for your teen.
1. They’re Not Alone
Though your teens may not buy it at first, let them know they’re not the only ones going through this. Plenty of their classmates, maybe even some friends, are in the middle of orthodontic treatments. With today’s technology, you may not even know unless they tell you.
This can help alleviate some of the discomfort and worry your teen has going into the procedure.
Braces come in many different shapes and varieties. There are the traditional metal braces, clear braces, and Invisalign. They can be made of metal wire and brackets, ceramic, or plastic.
Different models are better equipped for different treatments, so you’ll need to discuss with your orthodontist what options are available. Once you know what’s on the table, talk with your teen about what they want.
If your teen is apprehensive about the treatment, discuss with them why they feel that way. If it turns out they’re worried about how they’ll look, consider opting for one of the invisible or clear versions. If it’s about how long the treatment will take, perhaps the more traditional models—which may take less time—would be better.
3. Patience and Support
You’re being supportive. You’ve let your child have an important say in what kind of braces are selected, but patience and support should go even deeper.
Different options have different rules that accompany them, like what foods can and cannot be eaten, so support must last on the entire orthodontic journey. Don’t bring foods into the house that your teen won’t be able to eat. Plan meals around what they can eat so as to not make them feel left out. It’s subtle, and your teen probably won’t notice the effort until years later, but it will go a long way to a smooth orthodontic treatment experience.
4. What It’s Going to Cost
Braces can cost in the range of $4,000 to $10,000, depending on the kind you select and the necessary orthodontic treatment required. Orthodontic offices often have payment plans in place to help manage the cost, which you can combine with your own coverage.
Talk with your dental staff about options the office provides and what will work best for you. As important as your child’s dental health is, it’s best to plan ahead so there are no surprises.
Treatments can be finicky, and there are many rules that go along with them. These rules are to ensure a healthy, vibrant smile and your child’s ongoing oral health. Learning all you can about braces, especially if you never experienced them yourself, is important for helping your child through it. Learn alongside your teen so you’re both experts in the process. Make sure your child feels free to voice concerns and ask questions throughout the process.
With patience, support, planning, and education, your teen can have a positive braces experience.