Dental braces can straighten crooked teeth and correct overbites. Orthodontic treatment can even reduce a teen's anxiety about their smile. However, patients must cooperate with their treatment for dental braces to have the desired effect. Parents play an important role in their teen's orthodontic treatment. Here are four things you should encourage your teenager to do while wearing braces:
1. Use dental wax as necessary
When your teen gets braces, an orthodontist will glue metal brackets to the front of each of their teeth. These brackets support dental wire, which will bring your child's teeth into alignment as tension is applied. Dental brackets are made from stainless steel, which can cause discomfort to the sensitive interior of the mouth. Encourage your teen to use dental wax whenever necessary. Dental wax is a soft, moldable substance that can be applied over the sharp edges of dental brackets. It can be used to maintain comfort and prevent oral abrasions during orthodontic treatment.
2. Brush and floss every day
Everyone should brush their teeth twice a day and floss daily. This is especially true for people wearing dental braces. Food can become trapped in braces, which increases your teen's chance of developing dental decay. Teens may be tempted to get lazy with their oral care because flossing is more difficult while wearing braces. As a parent, you can help by providing your teenager with floss designed for use with braces. This specialty floss includes a stiff end that can be easily threaded through braces.
3. Make wise food choices
Some foods are always bad for teeth, such as sugar and soda. However, there are other foods that should be avoided while wearing braces. Sticky foods, like taffy and gum, can get stuck in braces and cause damage to your teen's oral hardware. Other hard foods, like whole apples, can cause a dental bracket to break off a tooth. Encourage your teenager to make wise food choices that will protect their braces.
4. Wear all prescribed orthodontic accessories
Your teenager may need additional orthodontic accessories during their treatment. Dental rubber bands are frequently used to correct overbites and underbites. These rubber bands can connect your child's upper and lower teeth, creating the necessary tension to change their bite alignment. Some teenagers don't like wearing rubber bands because they're uncomfortable. However, they are integral to your child's treatment. Make sure your child complies with all of their orthodontist's instructions.