Surviving Braces

If your child’s about to be fitted with braces, you’ll want to prepare yourself for the years ahead. There will be times – particularly when the braces are first put on and after each adjustment – when your child is not a happy camper. I vividly remember having my braces put on at 14 and thinking that the multiple-hours long process would have made a great medieval torture device. Maybe your child isn’t as dramatic as I was, but nevertheless, there is sure to be some discomfort.

braces survival guide 300x199 Surviving Braces Photo

Wearing braces isn’t all bad, and the outcome is well worth the sacrifice.

Here are some of the common issues that pop up and helpful tips for surviving braces:

Having braces installed

  • The installation process can take anywhere from two to three hours (hmm, I remember it feeling a lot longer). For the duration of this process, the mouth and lips are kept stretched wide open. Apply a generous amount of lip balm or petroleum jelly to your child’s mouth beforehand to combat the dry, cracked lips that often result from this process. Have a beverage and something soft to eat on hand for the end of the appointment.
  • After a day or two, the pain should kick in. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen are good choices for pain relief (check with the doctor first). Have your child stick to soft foods for the first few days.
  • If the brackets or hooks are irritating the inside of your child’s mouth, put dental wax over them to prevent them from rubbing.
  • If your child complains that his teeth feel loose, don’t worry; that’s a normal part of the process and will pass in a week or so.

Living with braces

  • Food will inevitably get stuck in your child’s teeth. Make up a small dental bag with a travel toothbrush, travel toothpaste, and a dental floss that is made for getting around braces, so your child can clean his teeth in the bathroom after eating while away from home.
  • You’ll want to avoid some foods the entire time your child wears braces, like nuts, caramels, candy, popcorn and gum. Besides getting stuck in the braces, these things can also damage the brackets and wires.
  • Encourage your child to chew carefuly, as the braces will make him more likely to bite his cheek.
  • After every adjustment (usually every four to six weeks), the pain could pop up again. You may want to revert to the soft food diet for a few days and keep the pain relievers handy.

These tips, of course, go for adults with braces as well. And if you’re an adult considering braces, you may want to read “Nice Chicklets: Teeth Straightening Options.”

Do you have any other tips for getting your child through the braces phase? Tell us below!