As an adult, the concept of braces and orthodontic work is a fairly simple one. The choice to wear braces is the choice between crooked teeth and straight teeth, and most adults would agree that there is no contest here in terms of the best option. For children, the idea of getting braces isn’t as simple as that, and no matter how trusted the dentist or orthodontist breaking the news, children can take some convincing that braces are in fact a good idea. Over the duration of their wear, braces can affect the appearance of the teeth, the shape of the jaw and even the shape of the mouth and face, causing serious self-confidence issues for some wearers. Children often need to be persuaded on the right course of action, which in many cases will be to proceed with the orthodontics work offered.
Firstly, it is essential to understand that your child doesn’t see things in the same logical, consistent way you do. When they hear they are expected to wear braces, many children dislike the idea of returning to school or to their friends. Being different is enough of a reason for kids to pick on each other and cause concern, and many children fear that braces will make them stand out from the crowd. This, along with the self-confidence hurdles that braces can put up, needs to be overcome by active, targeted parenting. Put yourself in your child’s shoes, and try to appreciate and overcome their obstacles in a way that makes sense to them.
A good starting point would be the Kool Smiles Youtube channel. Seeing how the process works, and the results that can be achieved through wearing braces, is an important first step for kids on the journey to accepting their braces. If they can see what is involved, and the results that they can expect from compliance, this can be enough to appease most children, and to help convince them that braces really are a good idea. Before and after pictures can also be helpful, so children can start to picture a future with a healthier, straighter smile.
Celebrity braces wearers are also good role models for children, and a great example for parents looking for gentle persuasion tactics. There are countless celebrities who have had braces in the past, who currently have braces, or who have benefited from extensive dental work. This can be a good motivator for kids who are worried about feeling left out or somehow “uncool” because of their braces.
An often-overlooked strategy is also chatting to the dentist, or to the orthodontist, and asking them to explain directly the medical needs and personal benefits that come from treatment of this kind. This will enable children to feel more involved and empowered about the decision, rather than feeling it is non-negotiable (whether or not this is actually the case!). By explaining in an adult, mature way the reasons for the need for braces, it can be possible to bring even the most unwilling child on-board, making it much easier to fit and care for the braces while ensuring your child is as happy as possible for the duration.
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