Moms (and Dads) who find their kids might not be so excited when they realize they need braces can face a rough road ahead. Knowing it can take as long as two and a half years to see that beautiful smile can be a stressful prospect for you and your child. However, there are things you can do to make the road less bumpy. You can help your child appreciate their treatment and maybe even find it fun. What? Yes, it’s true. Here are our tips to making braces fun.
Em”brace” The Latest Orthodontic Trends
Believe it or not, braces today are far more fashionable. Kids can have more fun wearing braces if they can make the look their own. Affordable things such as choosing different colours for their elastics (known as ligatures in the biz) can create a more unique look and allow kids to express themselves. If they are less expressive, they might feel more comfortable choosing clear elastics. Because they can be swapped out often, kids can get creative, whether it’s to celebrate the holidays, honour their favourite sports teams, or simply choose their favourite colours. It’s a great way for kids to have fun with braces.
“Clear” The Way For Straight Teeth
Today kids have options when it comes to braces. You don’t have to opt for the metal “train tracks” of the past but instead can choose treatment that reduces the appearance of braces. Invisalign® braces have revolutionized the field of orthodontics, thanks to 3D computer imaging and the use of safe, clear acrylics. These braces are virtually invisible and use 3D imaging and technology to create clear acrylic “trays” or aligners molded to the exact shape and size of your child’s teeth. They gradually and gently guide teeth into proper alignment without the use of traditional metal wires, brackets, elastics, and retainers. As a result, kids feel more confident about their treatment.
Making Braces Fun By Having A Braces Party
This might seem like an odd suggestion, but it helps normalize braces by sharing this life-changing event with loved ones and friends. It’s a way to ease them into the idea and make it feel more normal. When their close friends show their support, it can be celebrated as a big deal and something positive your child looks forward to, and they might be less likely to see the braces as a negative.
Pig Out Big Time
Since your child is going to face a list of forbidden foods that can make wearing braces a real bummer, we give permission on this one occasion to go crazy on junk foods. Giving up sweets and favourite foods like corn on the cob and popcorn can really make the idea of braces depressing. But binging on their favourite treats while playing video games or watching movies with friends or family can make it a bit easier to face the lengthy period of being deprived of their fave foods.
Share Your Own Stories
If your kids need braces, chances are you had them too. Share before and after pictures of yourself with your child to let them know you’ve ‘been there and done that’ as well. It can create a bond between you and show them it’s a pretty normal thing to experience. If they have friends or family members with braces, get them involved and have them share their experiences as well. It makes it feel more normal for them when they can see it is a common occurrence and nothing to be embarrassed about.
Have A Braces-Friendly Smoothie Binge
Although there are a lot of great treats they’re going to miss out on during their braces treatment, you can introduce them to some new snack sensations. Nothing helps kids recover better after a sensitive brace-tightening appointment than a no-holds-barred smoothie binge. Have fun creating new flavours of smoothies to help them feel more comfortable after their ortho appointments. There are all kinds of yogurts, fruits and even veggies you can use to whip up tempting flavours they might look forward to after their appointments.
Avoid “Brushing” Off Their Worries
For most kids, braces aren’t fun and are a real cause to worry. Avoid brushing off their concerns and make sure they feel heard. Help them overcome feelings of self-consciousness using examples and encouragement that works for their interests and personality. For example, is there a celebrity they admire who wears or wore braces? Is there a “cool” kid at their school or in their class who wears braces? Trying to find ways to show them it’s not something to feel embarrassed about while still being understanding about their concerns helps provide the support they need to feel better about their treatment.
Keep Them Smiling
If your child is avoiding laughing and smiling with their braces, try to encourage them to have fun with braces. They need to keep smiling. Over time they should adjust to their braces, but it’s normal for them to be more self-conscious in the early days. It might be fun to have a movie marathon of funny movies or their favourite chuckle-worthy animated series to get them used to laughing with their braces. Confidence with braces is very important, and smiling and laughing can reduce feelings of embarrassment, so they avoid self-esteem issues.
Keep Their Eyes On The Prize
Of course, the big reward of a beautiful smile at the end of their treatment is the best incentive to keep them invested in their braces. Remind them it’s just a couple short years of inconvenience for a lifetime of perfect smiles. Again, examples of how great they’ll look, whether it’s through your own experience or the experiences of people they admire, can keep them focused on the final results.
Have A Reward Program
If your child wears traditional wire braces, as mentioned above, adjustments can be painful. Making braces fun can involve developing a rewards program that provides something they look forward to after their appointments. Whether they get to choose the meal that day, you top up their allowance with a bonus, or you treat them to a fun activity with their friends like a movie or escape room, rewards help keep kids motivated.
Another idea for making braces fun is to create a point system based on things like their ortho appointments, avoiding bad foods, or proper braces hygiene. The points can go towards a major reward at the end of their treatment. It can be designed to suit any budget, whether it’s a pair of special sneakers they’ve always wanted, an upgrade to their phone, a fun weekend getaway, or a party with friends.
We totally get braces aren’t actually fun. But putting a positive twist on treatment goes a long way to getting your kids through their experience by making braces fun. Call today to schedule an appointment at 905-775-5307 or click here to request an appointment.