Easing Child Fears About Orthodontic Treatment
Published on February 21, 2017, Updated on April 15, 2017
Orthodontic treatment can seem so routine that parents are sometimes mystified by a child who has real fears about orthodontic treatment. Fear of pain, of the application process, of food getting in them, fear of embarrassment, and just fear of the unknown can be enough to get any child less than thrilled at the idea of visiting their orthodontist. At Belmar Orthodontics, we work with you and your child to help ease anxiety and educate them for success with treatment before, during and after! Read on to learn more about the reasons behind some of the most common fears about orthodontic treatment and methods to help combat them.
Fears About Orthodontic Treatment: #1 Fear of Pain
None of us enjoy discomfort and children can be especially honed into every sensation, or possible sensation they can imagine. Previous negative experiences with dental treatment can taint their perspectives and influence their reactions/experience. Staying sensitive to your child’s fears is important. Fears can worsen if you simply try to ignore them. Acknowledge them and help them overcome them with real tools, education and positive encouragement. Discomfort can occur when braces are adjusted, when teeth are moving, and as the mouth becomes accustomed to the apparatus in the mouth, but the process shouldn’t include excruciating pain at any time. Fears about orthodontic treatment often involve some fear of shots. Shots are not involved in the application process! Most children never even need any kind of anesthetic treatment during treatment. If your child has real fears about pain, inform a member of our Belmar Orthodontics team before so we can help dispel these fears and give your child tools to combat their fears both in the office and at home.
Fear #2: The Application Process
Many children have heard stories from other kids or used their active imaginations to concoct some pretty fantastic scenarios of things that can happen, or that they think will happen, when braces are put on. Fears about orthodontic treatment often stem from misinformation. Kids are often surprised with how smooth the actual process is! Understanding how braces are installed can help your child prepare for braces. Inform our staff if your child has real concerns over the process. We can help show them the materials we will be using, and show them how the application works to help dissolve those fears. We can help reassure your child and resolve their doubts with real information and testimonials from current patients.
The actual appointment for getting your braces typically takes about 2 hours. Your child will be walked through the entire process from beginning to end. The teeth will be carefully (and painlessly) prepped for brackets and then the orthodontist will carefully position each bracket on each tooth. Following bracket placement, the archwire will be installed and bands will be affixed to keep the wire in place. Your child will be given wax to help smooth over any pokey parts of the braces while they get used to them in their mouth. You will also be given tips for treating the initial discomfort of shifting teeth with braces and a new apparatus. You can help your child face their fears about orthodontic treatment–we will help!
Fear #3: Food Getting Trapped
When it comes to relating to your child’s fears about orthodontic treatment, it is important for adults to reel back their minds from where they are now to where they were when they were younger. Children take things much more seriously than adults do. Children really worry about having food stuck in their teeth and how that can look in front of their peers. Empower your child by giving them tools for this and for caring for their braces. Explain to them which foods may be problematic and how to eat those food more carefully. Drinking/swishing with water can help remove debris. Giving your child a portable toothbrush to use when away from home can be a great tool. A pocket mirror can help reassure your child and help them remove food that they see. Remind them that people without braces sometimes get food stuck in their teeth too! With tools and a plan, your child can eat easily and without worry with braces.
Fear #4: Embarrassment Over Apparatus
Helping your child work through worries associated with braces can help them enjoy the treatment process much more. It is not uncommon for children (and adults) to worry about how they will look with braces. Children worry about being teased or bullied over their braces or about how they may detract from their appearance. Help your child get excited about their braces by underscoring how many of their peers are also wearing braces right now. Get them excited about the fun they can have with braces by creating colorful patterns and designs with their bands. Emphasize this once-in-a-lifetime treatment time and the beautiful results that they will receive from child orthodontics. Helping your child understand both the cosmetic and real health benefits braces provide can help support a healthy treatment perspective. Help your child understand what a gift braces are. There are so many in the world that are never able to receive this important treatment. His/her smile is a gift for a lifetime!
Fear #5: The Unknown
Behind all of these fears about orthodontic treatment underlies the real concern–fear of the unknown. This fear is conquered as your child goes through the process; as he/she learns for themselves that getting braces can be an enjoyable, pain-free process that passes in a blink of an eye! Attitude determines everything. Support the development of a healthy attitude about orthodontic treatment. We will be there every step of the way to help you support these healthy relationships. Keep us in the loop so we know what you and your child need to make the process go more smoothly. Our team is familiar with the fears about orthodontic treatment children have and can offer you real tools and solutions!
Call for an Orthodontic Treatment Consultation
Life with braces brings exciting changes, and sometimes some challenging adjustments too, but the end result is a healthier, more confident child and adult! If your child has fears about orthodontic treatment, lean on us to help prepare you and your child for this excitement time and process. Belmar Orthodontics can help them obtain a healthy, functional, attractive smile AND enjoy the process. Call 303.225.9016 today to learn more about braces or to schedule an appointment. Dr. Hardy is committed to your care and will help you reach your smile goals as quickly and efficiently as possible if you need braces.