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KEEP ON SMILING: HELPING YOUR ADOLESCENT ACCEPT BRACES

by Tania K. Cowling

 

Not everyone is born with a perfect └all-Americanö smile. So for most preteens, the possibility of wearing braces is inevitable. Young teens are already self-conscious, and braces certainly donít help. After all, having tons of wire and rubber bands in your mouth isnít much fun. But all this construction going on has a great purpose; to make your SMILE the best it can be.


Letís handle your childís number one concern first. Looking stupid for even five minutes is a huge blow to the self-esteem in the adolescent years. Point out how good your child will look after the braces. Then, you can point out how many of his or her friends have bracesćit isnít uncommon. Millions of kids and celebrities have or had braces and survived. Chelsea Clinton donned braces, Cameron Diaz (actress), Daisy Fuentes (MTV video jockey), Venus Williams (professional tennis player), Dominique Moceanu (Olympic gymnast) and Chris (singer in NíSync) all wore braces, just to name a few famous people.


Thereís good news to talk about. Braces are much less noticeable than when you were a kid. Metal braces are still used, but you might be able to get clear braces or ones that are the same color as your teeth. There are even braces that are behind your teeth where no one can see them. The wires that are used in braces today are also smaller and better than they used to be. Some kids even change the rubber bands on their braces to funky colors. The orthodontist put on black and orange bands for Halloween or the colors of your preteenís school. Having fun with braces is a great way to make the time pass faster until they come off.

 

THINGS PARENTS SHOULD KNOW:

 

  • How long does it take to correct most dental abnormalities? Treatment can take from one to three years, not including └rest periods,ö which are frequent when a child starts treatment at an early age.
  • How much does it cost? Expense is determined by the time needed for treatment. Fees start at about $800 for an appliance to correct a problem in three months, or range from about $3200 for one year of treatment to about $5000 for three years. These prices are all estimations and vary between orthodontists and locales.
  • Does the treatment hurt? Treatment does not hurt most of the time. There is some soreness at the first fitting and at tightening visits. Some parents give their child a pain reducer, like Tylenol. Some gels like Anbesol help too!
  • What should I look for when choosing an orthodontist? Personal recommendation from a friend or your family dentist is helpful. Check credentials and see if he/she is board certified by the American Board of Orthodontics. An office that is close to your home, school, or employer is helpful because treatment will be completed over a series of visits.
  • What can my preteen eat when adjusting to new braces? A variety of soft, nutritious, tasty foods are the key to soothing teeth that have been adjusted recently. Hard foods can be made softer by chopping, blending, mashing, and cooking. Cutting foods into small pieces will minimize the amount of chewing. Check cookbooks for recipes that follow these suggestions.
  • What is the key to successful orthodontic care? Patient cooperation is the key. Your child has responsibilities that involve hygienic care, foods and sweets to avoid, refrain from picking at the braces, wearing the headgear and retainers as prescribed, and definitely keep scheduled appointments.

 

All in all, you should teach their child to have good self-esteem and to be confident. Tell your child to enjoy life and definitelyćGO AHEAD AND SMILE! Hopefully all these efforts will prove successful and your child will thank you in the end.

 
 
 
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