How to Prepare Your Child for Braces

So your child is getting braces? That’s exciting! They’ve made it to the next stage of life – and a beautiful, healthy smile is on the horizon.

But first, your child may have conflicting emotions before braces and may feel a bit overwhelmed with the changes to come. Parents may feel overwhelmed too. This is normal!

Beginning orthodontic treatment is a small lifestyle change. We understand the anxieties that our patients may have. That’s why we’re here to break it down with 5 tips to help your child prepare for braces – with a positive experience:

1. Schedule a professional cleaning at your dentist.

Before we can start braces treatment, your child will need to have a professional dental cleaning. This should be at the top of your “what to do before getting braces” list! 

It’s important that your child has a strong foundation to support a beautiful set of healthy, happy teeth! We want to make sure there are no underlying dental issues or concerns that could worsen during treatment.

The dentist will assess for decay in the teeth before we place your child’s braces. If your child has had a dental cleaning at least six months before your braces appointment, we can start the process!

2. Adjust the family menu!

During the first two weeks of braces treatment, your child may experience some minor tenderness or soreness. As their teeth and gums are adjusting to the pressure of braces, it may be best to opt for softer foods.

What to eat before getting braces: Stock up on foods like mashed potatoes, chopped or sliced fruits, mac ‘n’ cheese, applesauce, oatmeal, etc.

Foods and candies that are especially sticky, hard or chewy, will have to take a temporary hiatus from the menu. You and your family can use this as a chance to try something new! Add some new foods to the mix and spice up your palette. 

3. Express empathy.

Putting yourself in your child’s shoes will help you develop more empathy, patience, and understanding for them as they’re going through this transition. Talk to your child about his or her concerns. Reassure them that there’s a major light at the end of the tunnel—and the light is a brilliant smile that lasts a lifetime. Our team will help you do it!

If your child is concerned about the appearance of braces, you can show them pictures of their favorite celebrities or YouTube personalities wearing braces. Plenty of celebrities have worn braces or Invisalign to achieve a Hollywood smile.

4. Prepare a braces kit.

Having braces requires a little more discipline in the dental hygiene department, so it’s a good idea to create a braces care kit that your child can carry whenever they’re at school or away from home!

Here are some essential items for your child’s braces care kit:

  • Travel-size toothbrush and toothpaste to keep braces free of debris after meals
  • Dental wax to ease irritation or protect the mouth from wires or brackets in the event that they become loose
  • Floss to clean between the teeth after meals 
  • Small pocket mirror to floss or brush teeth on-the-go

5. Make sure you have a mouthguard for sports!

Another thing to know about braces – your child won’t have to sit on the sideline during their orthodontic treatment! However, it’s crucial that they wear a mouthguard

If they’re a sports player, having a mouthguard is essential for protecting the teeth and braces during an impact. If your child collides with another player or takes a ball to the face, there’s a chance that the impact may damage their mouth or damage another player.

This is why mouthguards are critical for creating a barrier between the object of impact, and the mouth – with or without braces. 

Still have questions about preparing for braces?

Before you know it, your child will be well-adjusted to braces treatment and on their way to a happy smile that lasts a lifetime. If you need any more tips or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to ask our team!

We’re here to guide you and your child through the treatment process, from your very first visit, to your last appointment. 

If you’re looking for a top orthodontist in Northwest Florida, we’d love to meet you! We have 8 convenient locations, including Pensacola, Navarre, Cantonment, Pace, Crestview, Ft. Walton, Niceville, and Perdido. Request a complimentary exam for you or your child today.