Preparing Your Child for Braces

No one likes going to the family dentist. Some may dislike it a little, others may detest it a lot. But everyone could think of something they'd rather be doing than going for an annual check-up, a new filling or operative surgery, and top of the list of loathers are children getting orthodontics braces for the first time.

This unwelcome rite of passage for many teenagers is often assumed to be a painful, harrowing experience that will leave them in agony for days afterwards. Of course, this is absolute rubbish: dentistry has advanced quite significantly since the Dark Ages, and modern practices are generally adept at avoiding torture during their procedures. However, the perception persists none-the-less, which is why it's worthwhile for parents to go through a few processes of their own beforehand.

Get references

Or to put it another way, get people who have had braces before to tell your child how painless and run-of-the-mill the procedure is. As with all matters of persuasion, this will be more effective if said people are a) around the same age as your child, as they will be able to relate to them better, and b) individuals your child has trusted in the past, for instance a particularly fun uncle. The plural "people" is used deliberately here, as the more words of reassurance your child receives, the more likely they are to feel calmer about their forthcoming appointment.

Give them the lowdown

Many parents make the mistake of thinking that if they tell their child what will happen - with all details about drills and needles included - then they'll be even more scared. However, in reality it tends to work in the opposite direction, as children who are kept in the dark are left to conjure even more terrifying visions in their head. As a result, it makes more sense to either run through the procedure with them yourself or get the family dentist to do it instead.

Positive reinforcement

Every kid automatically focuses on the negative side of braces, from the daunting procedure itself to having a mouth full of metal for the next two years or so. All this misses the point of them getting braces in the first place, so it's up to you to remind them. Beautiful, straight teeth; realigned jawlines; better oral health; and, ultimately, a big boost to their self-esteem.

Dance at the dentists

Well, maybe not literally! But if the dentist allows them to, get your child to make a music playlist to listen to while getting their braces fixed, as it will distract them from the procedure at hand. Just make sure they don't choose any headbanging death metal, as that could go horribly wrong.