If you’re getting ready to break the news to your child that they need braces, you may be feeling a little overwhelmed. It can definitely be a daunting task, and we know how nerve wracking it can be for both children and parents setting out on such an important process. Braces are a pretty big unknown and most kids are naturally apprehensive about anything new, especially when it comes with significant changes to their daily routine.

Dillehay Orthodontics is no stranger to the anxiety surrounding orthodontic treatment, but we’re committed to helping all of our patients feel comfortable and confident as they embark on the journey towards a straighter smile!. Keep reading below for our top 5 tips on how to turn your child’s apprehension into anticipation and excitement about braces!

1. Throw a big before-braces party

We won’t sugarcoat it – braces can have a pretty steep learning curve in the form of food limitations. This can be frustrating for kids and teens, even when they know the end result will be worth it. Throwing a farewell party lets them say “see you soon!” to all the treats they love that are going on the back burner for a while. Plan a big bash for them and go all out with decorations, games and activities, and all the assorted foods your child will have to avoid while undergoing orthodontic treatment with braces. Set out big bowls of popcorn, sticky candy, and bubblegum, but don’t forget how important oral hygiene is, even before braces! It’s a great idea to throw in some oral hygiene items as party favors, like new toothbrushes and flavored floss.

2. It’s not forever

In the grand scheme of things, braces are just a blip on the radar. Because every smile responds to treatment differently, we can’t guarantee an exact amount of time your child will need to wear braces, the average tends to be about 18 to 24 months. Although that may seem like forever to your child in the beginning, it really will fly by! Things that are new or different may take some getting used to, but before you know it, braces will be just another part of your child’s daily routine. Remind your child that orthodontic treatment isn’t a life sentence, and at the end of this journey is a beautiful, straight smile that will be worth every minute in braces.

Teenage girl and closes the face with her hands.

3. Help them see they’re not alone

Thousands of kids get braces every year, but it can still feel a little lonely in the beginning. Did you or someone else in your family ever wear braces? Pull out some of those old photos and let your child see how (relatively!)  normal you looked while you were undergoing orthodontic treatment. Many celebrities have also had braces, and seeing how those famous faces achieved their A-list smiles can inspire your tween or teen to feel more at home with their own treatment. Although braces don’t define beauty, it can sometimes help to make an association between an attractive celebrity and the braces that landed their smile on the red carpet. Having a “brace face” is cause for celebration, not embarrassment!

4. Orthodontics has come a long way

As efficient as braces are, they were pretty awkward, uncomfortable, and obvious for much of their history. But modern braces have come a long way since the days of headgear you could see coming from a mile away! Today’s braces fit, feel, and look better than ever before. They’re even customizable – we offer a wide variety of colored bands that allow patients to choose their favorite color combinations and show off their personality. Expressing individuality in even a small way like this can help take some of the bite out of braces!

5. Make a big deal out of all their progress

After taking a “before” picture, keep track of your child’s orthodontic journey by photographing them, or having them take selfies, throughout the process. Regularly updating their progress with photos can lift their spirits on the days when they’re feeling down, and having picture proof of how far they’ve already come can hammer home how quickly their smile is improving. This can be a powerful reminder that all their hard work is worth it, even before their braces come off.

girl smiling with braces

Building a better smile with braces by Dillehay Orthodontics

Choosing to pursue orthodontic care for your child is a big decision, and while braces may not be the most popular choice you ever make for them, it can certainly be one of the best! Our experienced team is committed to creating the most comfortable and stress-free orthodontic experience we can for you and your child. If you’re looking for information on braces for your child, our skilled staff is happy to discuss any questions or concerns you may have about choosing the right treatment. With locations in Wichita, Derby, Newton, and Arkansas City, we’re never very far from where you are! Get in touch with us today to schedule a free consultation for your child. There’s never been a better time to take the first step towards building a better smile for them!