Getting braces can seem overwhelming or even depressing to teenagers. Even with the promise of straight teeth and a happy smile, they still hate the way they look or feel. Rather than letting your teen live in a state of gloom and doom for the next 18 months or longer, depending on his treatment time, make the countdown period fun.
This period can start on the very first day he gets his braces (or the 2nd if he is sore). This will alleviate some of the stress of having braces and let him focus on the day that they come off, making the entire process more fun.
What child/teen doesn't like rewards? Figure out what motivates your child and make it a reward for certain periods of time. You can make the rewards coincide with his appointments with our office when his braces get tightened or every month or quarter - however you see fit and whatever will motivate your child to take care of his braces. Try to steer away from edible rewards as most of them will likely not be good choices when your child has braces though.
If your child is the type that likes to see things crossed off on a calendar, cross off every day that passes that he has braces. Make sure that the day he is supposed to have them removed is clearly marked so that he can see the progress he is making towards his happy, straight smile! You can do this with either a big, wall calendar or a small desk calendar; just make sure it is visible for your child.
Make a Countdown Chart
Do you count down to the last day of school or the number of days until Christmas? You could use a similar calendar or method to countdown the days until the braces come off. A few simple ideas include using a dry erase board, chalk board, or even an "old school" paper chain that will keep track of how many days are left until your child gets to smile braces fee!
Have celebrations during key times of your child's treatment. Maybe have a small "braces party" when he is at the halfway point or after a particularly difficult adjustment. Any celebration that can help your child, especially teens, feel like they are making progress and are almost at the end point will help to encourage them to continue to take care of their smile.
Having a child in braces is not an easy task, but it is possible to get through it! It is up to you to make the process fun and easy to undergo. Not every child is going to resist the thought of braces, some of them think it is "cool" or even exciting, but for those that are less than excited, especially the teens, making the countdown to the day that the braces can come off can be a lot of fun.
These ideas are meant to help you get started, but you can use any method to help make the countdown period something that your child looks forward to. The key factor here is getting your child to ensure that they take care of their teeth and braces in order to avoid problems with his mouth, such as decay or gum disease as a result of neglecting his teeth while undergoing treatment.
If you are ready for an orthodontic consultation or you need help encouraging your teen to take care of his teeth, contact us today.