A visit to the dentist is enough to make some children fearful of having their semi-annual check-ups. And to be told that they will probably be needing braces is, not surprisingly, going to be a huge issue.
Like many people, the initial reaction of learning that brace-wearing may be needed is based on the notion that the procedure is going to be long and painful; or that it will be disruptive of their daily activities. Along with fear of pain, some children may also detest wearing braces for fear of being treated like an outcast or being ridiculed at school, given society’s stereotype for people with braces.
While these reasons are true and valid, it is still vital to get the procedure done, to avoid repercussions. For a parent, however, sometimes having the child agree to dental braces and treatments may take weeks of convincing and conditioning.
Below are a few things parents can keep in mind when telling their child it’s time to get braces. These tips should help make this whole experience a positive one, and not something traumatic.
The first thing parents must remember is to never force a child to get their braces done, even if parents know that this corrective measure should not be disregarded. It’s more difficult to get a child committed to getting dental braces this way. What’s more important is that he understands the reason behind it, so there is no resistance and he welcomes the idea more.
HAVE A DIALOGUE
Consequently, it would be hard to condition and convince a child to wear braces if the parents themselves don’t try to understand where the fear is coming from. Ask your child about it. Why doesn’t he want to wear braces? Knowing the reasons can help you come up with solutions to address those fears.
KEEP THEM INFORMED
More often than not, fear also lies in the fact that there’s little your child knows about the experience of having braces. In this case, getting all the information about it can help alleviate some of the concerns. You both can read up on the different types of braces to choose from. Some of the designs are actually pretty cool and less embarrassing that he may be more open to the idea of wearing it.
You can also try to talk to parents of kids with braces, or the kids themselves. Although it will be different for every person, talking to someone who has been there, or has tried it, can help with knowing what to expect. It would also help if that person can tell the child, there really is nothing to worry about.
As for handling fear of the dentist and the actual procedure, it’s best to have your child and the dentist discuss this during a check-up. The dentist can explain to him what is involved in the whole treatment, what happens to the teeth while in treatment, and what the child can do to manage the discomfort or pain.
Visual aids would be helpful to illustrate the point to the child. Some kids get really excited seeing before and after photos their dentist have worked on, knowing that the same thing can happen to their teeth a few years after treatment. You can probably show the child pictures of his favorite stars with their braces on as motivation.
Getting dental braces is part of oral care and good health, which is really what the lesson a child should be able to take from with this experience.