Teen Braces: Supporting a Successful Transition

If your child or teen is soon to get braces or Invisalign, there are a few things you both should be thinking about ahead of time. Transitioning to teen braces, Sacramento CA, can be a bumpy or smooth ride; everyone deals with change differently. However, in just about every case, there will be significant changes to your child’s diet and routine. That’s a given. Any way you can support your teen and help him/her be ready to adjust to those changes is a good thing.

Are you interested in learning more about teen braces, Sacramento CA, or Invisalign? Visit our office to speak with orthodontics specialist Dr. David Markham. Call us at 916-924-8970 to make an appointment.

Help Your Child Comply with Diet Changes

A good way to help your teen adjust quickly to new eating habits is to make a big deal about them. Talk about them. Make a list of foods your child will need to avoid and put it on the refrigerator. Even if your teen is already very independent in terms of feeding himself or herself, take a few minutes to cut her bagel into small pieces or slice an apple for him.  Model the changes they’ll need to start making for themselves.

If your child is preparing to start Invisalign, the focus will need to be on time rather than diet, and scheduling snacks and oral hygiene. Luckily, no foods are banned with Invisalign. However, in a sense, all food is banned with Invisalign. You’ll need to help him set up a meal and snacking schedule that works with his established routine (without leaving him feeling hungry or deprived). If your child is used to eating a portable breakfast on the way to school, strategize a way he can do this and still be able to brush and floss before putting the aligners back in. Start waking him up earlier in the morning if you have to, or making a protein-rich smoothie he can down quickly. If your child is usually a gum chewer, help strategize ways to avoid the temptation to chew when wearing Invisalign.

Monitoring Oral Hygiene

Teens are usually very good at monitoring their own oral hygiene, but during a transition to teen braces you may have to proactively intervene.  If your child is trying alternate flossing methods, find out what works best and make sure there are plenty in the medicine cabinet. The transition to braces gives you an excellent opportunity to be nosy, for a change! Ask him or her to show you how he/she flosses now, so you can work out any bugs together.

Supply the Tools They Need, and Talk About Them

In the beginning, throwing extra stuff at your teen can be overwhelming. Help them manage the extra “stuff” initially. For example, if your child needs wax to use on the metal brackets, keep it in a central location. Don’t hand it over and expect it to stay at his or her fingertips. Same with flossing tools.

An Invisalign patient will need a mobile oral hygiene kit to take to school. Before you go out and buy something, ask where he or she will keep it. If there’s one unused zipper pocket in her school bag, make sure the kit will fit there.

If your daughter is getting ready to use Invisalign and she likes to wear lip color, you’ll need to have a talk about lipstick alternatives. Colored lip gloss and lipstick are drawn to the aligners like magnets, and no one want to have rose-colored teeth. Some cosmetic lip colors dry quickly and do not transfer to the aligners, however. Do some research on lip stains and take her on a special trip to the drug store to pick out some new products.

Talk About Pain

There’s no way around it; appointments to have wires tightened can and will cause sensitivity to the teeth. Talking about it can help in two ways. It will help your child know what to expect, and it will help you support him or her when it happens. If your teen is already driving and is responsible for his own transportation to and from appointments, it may be easy to forget what follows those appointments. Encourage your child to let you know if he’s experiencing soreness, so you can give him a little extra TLC and leeway when it happens.

Coordinate with Your Teen to Schedule Visits

Whether your child is getting metal braces or Invisalign, he or she will need to visit our office regularly for progress checks. Talk to your teen and work with our staff before you start scheduling these, to make sure they have a minimal impact on his or her schedule. Your child may prefer to stagger the appointment days and times to make sure one class is not always affected by the absence. We have office hours until 6:00 pm one day of the week, and until 5:00 pm on two others. If missing school is not an option, you may want to make use of one of these days or our monthly Saturday hours.

The important thing is to make sure your teen is an active part of this conversation. You don’t want scheduled office visits to limit your child’s ability to participate in an important extra-curricular activity or miss the same academic class once a month.

Ready to Learn More?

The choice to start your child on teen braces or Invisalign is always a good one. The better prepared you both are, the more successful you can be with the treatment. Contact us at 916-924-8970 to make an appointment with Dr. Markham for teen braces, Sacramento CA.