Your Child’s Common Braces Questions Answered
When your child needs braces—and many children do, with some early orthodontic treatment starting as young as 4 years old—it is only natural that they will have a lot of questions. Like anything new in life, kids are curious. And this curiosity serves a purpose. Answering their common questions about braces helps your kids to feel comfortable with this new and unfamiliar process. And of course, our goal is to remove the fear and help your child feel prepared for the experience of braces. (This is true for our teen and adult patients as well!)
Braces are often a part of early orthodontic treatment. It’s possible your child begins with an expander or oral appliance to make room for adult teeth to grow in, and so visits for orthodontic work are old news by the time they get to braces. Or it’s possible your child’s treatment begins right away with braces. Either way, we often hear the same questions and these answers may help your child to begin the process with ease—on their way to a beautiful, healthy bite!
Need Braces? Children’s FAQs about Braces
- Do braces hurt?
This is often the first question from anyone who gets braces. And the answer is multi-faceted.
Getting braces on. The first part is easy—when you get traditional metal bracket braces, it doesn’t hurt to have your braces put on. Braces are bonded to the teeth in a very simple, low pressure procedure.
A few days of adjustment. The greatest amount of pain most people experience is from the pressure of the braces for the first few days after getting braces on or adjusted. But it won’t and shouldn’t be unbearable! The process of shifting your teeth with braces is slow—months to a few years—because each adjustment is one baby step toward the final goal. This pain will feel like an ache, and then it should subside after a few days. This pain can be managed with an over-the-counter and doctor-approved pain medicine, like Tylenol, and by eating soft easy-to-chew foods most kids love, like pancakes, yogurts, noodles and cold foods—a perfect excuse for an ice cream treat!
Managing wires. When you get your braces on, we will ask to make sure nothing is sticking out or poking and do everything we can to eliminate anything bothersome. We will also send you home with wax to cover anything that might feel rough against your inner mouth. A small amount of wax will stick to the braces to keep things smooth that might bother you at first!
- Will braces feel strange?
The first few days of braces it will take some getting used to! At first, you may even lisp or sound different as your lips adjust to their new metal companions. But the great news is, the material of braces has come a long way and is light and smooth. After a small period of adjustment, you will be so used to them that you don’t even notice. And by the time they come off, you will find the sensation of your teeth feels strange at first!
- Will I look bad with braces?
You will still be your beautiful self with braces. For many kids, this is a concern ahead of time, and a few things are very reassuring to hear. Braces are so lightweight that your mouth and lips will look the same as you smile and speak. Also, braces are so common that it isn’t shocking to see someone else with braces—your friends will be used to it in no time. And finally, braces are a temporary path to a strong and confident smile for the rest of your life! If a child or teen is especially self-conscious about braces, clear aligners are also a possible solution.
- Can I still eat whatever I want with braces?
Unfortunately, you will have some restrictions in order to take care of your teeth when you have metal braces. But the good news is, the list of restrictions isn’t long! You’ll have to cut out really crunchy foods, like popcorn, nuts, and hard cookies or crackers. And no more sticky things like sticky candy or gum. But here’s an idea—once your braces are off, plan a huge GUM PARTY! Or a STICKY SNACKY PARTY! Just make sure you earn it when you have your braces by taking extra good care of your teeth—avoiding those hard and sticky foods, and brushing and using mouth rinse regularly.
- Will I have to wear braces forever?
Of course not! For kids, changes like this can feel like forever. But for most children and teens the process takes two years or less. And as you go through the process, you will visit for minor adjustments. Make the process fun by taking process photos as you go—very early on you will see major changes, and see the satisfying shift toward a beautiful, healthy bite.
If you think your child may need braces, request an initial consultation today. We will see if your child needs early orthodontic treatment. Make an appointment to visit today!