Many people think of braces as just for kids, but nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, as long as you still have your natural teeth, it’s not too late to get a dazzling, confident smile. Whether you’re just starting on your journey through adulthood or have taken a dizzying number of trips around the sun, you can talk to your orthodontist about fixing up your smile with adult braces. Ready to get started? Here’s what you need to know about straightening your teeth in your adult years.
The First Week With Braces
Although braces will restore your child’s smile, the initial procedure and first week won’t be the most fun thing ever. With traditional braces, you can expect it to take about two hours to put on the bracket and the wires.
For your teenage kids looking to avoid braces, check out clear aligners. They require a shorter appointment time to get set up, are virtually invisible, and can even work faster than braces.
With either option, you can expect your child to complain of soreness in their teeth and gums. The pressure applied to the teeth helps move them into the correct positions, but it does cause a bit of discomfort for about one week or so.
You can help them become more comfortable with over-the-counter pain medication as recommended by your orthodontist. You’ll also want to feed them soft foods, like soup and mashed potatoes, until the soreness goes away.
Other ways to help your child stay comfortable include:
- Put dental wax over any irritating brackets and wires
- Use a warm saltwater rinse up to six times per day
- Apply an ice pack over the sore areas up to 20 minutes at a time
Also, remember to pick up some lip balm in case their lips feel dry after getting braces.
Diet and Lifestyle Changes
As you pick out foods for your child to enjoy, pay close attention to the list of foods that you cannot eat with braces. Sticky, chewy, crunchy, and downright hard foods can damage the teeth and braces, causing a lot of heartache along the way.
So, help your kid out by skipping the:
- Hard candies, like lollipops and peanut brittle
- Chewy sweets, including caramels and taffy
- Crunchy veggies, chips, popcorn, and pretzels
- Chewy foods, including pizza crust and bagels
You’ll also want to avoid foods that have to be bitten hard with the front teeth, like whole apples, corn on the cob, and ribs. You can cut these options down into bite-sized pieces on occasion, so your child can enjoy them without the risk of bending wires and loosening brackets.
In addition to changing up their diet, you’ll want to help your child make good lifestyle changes to protect their teeth and braces. They should commit to a regular brushing and flossing schedule, for example, plus inspect the brackets and wires each day. Beyond that, they should always wear a mouthguard while playing sports and enjoying other high-impact activities, like jumping on a trampoline.
Braces Stay on for One to Three Years
Although braces work faster in kids than adults, you can still expect the treatment process to take anywhere from one to three years. As the braces put pressure on the teeth to align them, the process speeds up as kids naturally grow and change.
As that occurs, many parents are surprised by the fact that their child’s facial features change as the teeth shift into their ideal positions. It may seem like your kid is losing their baby face and growing into a mini adult right before your very eyes.
By the end of the treatment process, your child will likely have a straighter jawline and more symmetrical face shape that helps improve their confidence even more. Be sure to take lots of pictures to look back at later on and marvel at the changes that occurred over the years.
Braces are a Good Investment in Your Child’s Future
When you straighten your child’s teeth with braces, you’re well rewarded with their dazzling smile and newfound confidence in all they do. Plus, as long as they continue to care for their teeth for the long run, this investment will pay out dividends throughout their entire lives.
In addition, since braces technology< is constantly advancing, you can trust that you’re always getting state-of-the-art treatments designed to provide excellent results. Your child’s orthodontist will perform a thorough examination to assess their dental health and then use precise imaging equipment to visualize their teeth, gums, and jaw structure. Using that info, they can create an effective treatment plan that will quickly restore your child’s beautiful smile forevermore.
By the end of the treatment process, you can rest assured that braces are an excellent investment in your child’s future. Your child’s straight teeth, beaming grin, and confident demeanor will speak for itself and let you know you made the right choice.
How to Protect Your Braces Investment
To get the most out of your investment, your child must follow through in wearing their retainer for the long term. They’ll likely need to start out wearing it day and night to keep their teeth from shifting back to their original positions. Their orthodontist may then let them switch to nightly use of the retainer after they stop rapidly growing through childhood and the teen years.
You can serve as an asset in this journey by reminding them to wear their retainer as recommended by their orthodontist. If you get any pushback, remind them of the risks and offer rewards for a job well done. Before you know it, wearing the retainer will become a part of their normal routine and won’t require reminders anymore.
If you’re ready to get your child braces, simply call 919-676-0541 to schedule a visit with Dr. Laster. At that appointment, you can learn if braces are right for your child and hear about the next steps. We look forward to helping perfect your child’s smile, so give us a call today, and we’ll help you find a convenient time to come to the clinic.
At Laster Orthodontics, we help families develop healthy, life-changing smiles using customized treatments, cutting-edge technologies, and caring relationships. Our individualized treatment plans help our patients achieve their perfect smile in the quickest, most painless way possible by utilizing a wide range of options from traditional braces to propel accelerated treatment to Dr. Laster’s in-house aligner program, Laster Perfect Smile. With three locations throughout the Triangle Area, we create life-changing smiles every day.