Parenting a teenager is notoriously challenging; there are so many issues facing teens that you, as a parent, need to prepare for. As your child reaches adolescence, they are likely to take more of an interest in their appearance, and their self-esteem is incredibly fragile. Unfortunately, a lot of teens today will need braces, and these can take a toll on their self-confidence, but so will a less-than-perfect smile. Luckily, helping your teen to get to grips with their braces and be confident while they wear them is pretty easy. Let’s take a look.
Picking the Braces
If your teenager needs to have braces, then in all likelihood, their orthodontist will recommend something. However, you depending on what the braces are going to address and the issues present in your teen’s teeth, there could be a little wiggle room. If there is the opportunity to choose, then it is worth consulting with your teen and their orthodontist to see whether or not any of the other, more subtle forms of braces could work.
Luckily for your teen, braces don’t necessarily have to mean clunky silver brackets. Maybe lingual braces could work for them. These braces go behind the teeth, which does mean that they are a little more subtle. Clear aligners could also be an option to explore, they, again, are fairly subtle, and there is some evidence to suggest that they work more quickly than traditional braces. Alignerco.com has more information regarding straightening your teen’s teeth.
Building Their Self Confidence
During the teen years, self-confidence tends to be lower because you are hyper-aware of the changes going on with your body. This lower self-confidence is hard to get over. As a parent, it is your job to help your teen to build their self-confidence. Braces can be a difficult thing to come to terms with because it is there in their face, affecting their smiles. Firstly, while they might be unreceptive, try to remind them that no one is paying as much attention or thinking about their braces as much as they are.
Reminding them that there is an end date can also help. Most people only have to wear braces for a couple of years, less if they are lucky, and the results will be worth it. It is better to have their braces now than in the future. A lot of their peers are likely to need braces, too; they are unlikely to be alone in this. There may be other things that you can do to help build their confidence whilst wearing braces, like haircuts, new clothes, and makeup – even getting them involved in a club or a sport can help.
Try to help them to develop a new mindset; braces are simply an accessory. Help them to find ways to inject a little personality into their braces. This is not always going to be possible, though; for example, lingual braces are mostly hidden behind the teeth, and they shouldn’t be particularly visible anyway.
Otherwise, there are a few different ways to accessorize a brace. If your teen wants clear aligners, and they are going to work for them and go with your budget, then you could get them a nice case for them. This will also help to make sure they aren’t going to lose them when they take them out. If traditional bracket braces are what they need, then they can choose different color bands to hold the wire on and show off a bit of individuality.
Encourage Proper Care
Regardless of the form of braces that your teenager needs, they will come with instructions for proper care. In order to make sure that they are effective, comfortable – and frankly – looking their best, you will need to make sure that your teen is looking after them and following the instructions that they have been given.
This is likely to include foods that they can and can’t eat, although if you have gone for aligners, then they are removed while eating and drinking, which usually means that their diet shouldn’t be affected too much. Eating with other forms of braces is not always a pleasant experience; some foods can pull off a bracket or pull the wires away. Most of the time, your dentist will advise softer foods.
Next, cleaning, keeping the teeth and braces clean. Depending on their diet, there are a few things that can cause staining either to your braces or the teeth themselves, and when the braces are removed – if they have brackets – it could leave little squares of discoloration on the teeth. Also, in general, having clean and well-kept braces are simply going to look better, too, which can help to aid in giving your teen more confidence too.
Needing braces can be a knock to your child’s self-confidence, but so can misaligned teeth. Try to present it as a lesser of two evils. The biggest thing to remember is simply that you need to be supportive. They need braces for a reason, and they aren’t permanent; after – at most a few years – they will come off, and they are going to have a dazzlingly straight smile. Braces are basically a rite of passage at this point, it can be hard, but they’ll get through it.