Santa Cruz Smiles

8 Important Considerations Before Getting Teen Braces

teen braces

Does your teen have crooked, gapped, or crowded teeth? Are you thinking that it’s time for teen braces?

Obtaining braces for teens may seem like a simple procedure, but you’ll want to be prepared for all that it will involve. It’s important to let your teen know what to expect and how they will need to care for their metal or clear braces. This is a critical part of correcting your teen’s smile and making sure it lasts a lifetime.

Here’s what you need to know.

1. Their Diet Will Change

You may have heard about this with other teens who have gotten braces. Soft foods are recommended for the first few days as other textures could cause your teen pain. You may want to plan on preparing things like scrambled eggs, soup, and yogurt initially. 

Your teen will also want to avoid any foods that could cause sensitivity directly after getting braces. These include ice cream, spicy foods, or citrus fruits.

Throughout the duration of metal braces, your teen will want to avoid sticky and hard foods, since these can damage wires or bands. They can also cause brackets to pull away from teeth completely.

While wearing braces, your teen should stay away from things like hard candy, chewing gum, and popcorn. They will also want to avoid tough or crusty food such as pizza crust, bagels, and hard crackers.  

Remind your teen that dietary restrictions are only temporary, and in the end, your teen will have a beautiful new smile. However, it’s worth it to stay away from certain foods right now in order to ensure that the treatment is effective.

2. There Are Different Types of Braces

Know that there are different types of braces that you will be able to choose from. Traditional wire braces, for example, are the least expensive option. They’re also the most visible.

Clear braces options such as Invisalign are popular with older teens and adults because they are not as noticeable. However, they also require a bit more maturity because your teen will need to make sure they are wearing them for at least twenty-two hours a day. Invisalign is also more expensive.

Ceramic braces are another option your teen could be interested in. These have clear or tooth-colored brackets and also sometimes use clear wires. Ceramic braces are durable and a bit more expensive than metal options.

3. You’ll Need to Have a Payment Plan

Braces can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000. The type of braces you choose, your location in the country, and the duration of the treatment will all play role in the exact cost.

Before getting braces for your teen, it’s critical to know how you’re going to pay for them. Call up your dental insurance company and find out what they’ll pay for. Talk to your orthodontist and see if they will let you pay the braces off a little each month. 

You can also ask your employer about a Health Savings Account (HSA) or Flexible Spending Account (FSA.) These will allow you to put aside tax-sheltered money each month that you can use to pay off your teen’s braces.

4. Tightening Can Hurt

Your teen will need to get their braces tightened about every six weeks. It’s critical to get them that perfect smile they’re waiting for.

Be ready with soft foods and over-the-counter pain relievers after your teen’s regular tightening visits. Smoothies are also a great way to make sure you’re getting your teen proper nutrition without causing damage to their braces. Sometimes, however, teens will only feel a bit of pain and they’ll be ready to get back to their regular activities right away.

5. Bring Along Some Lip Balm

The initial braces treatment will involve keeping your mouth open for a couple of hours. If you’re prone to dry lips, you’ll want to bring some lip balm along. This can also help you after tightenings.

6. Have a Braces Kit

Some teens like to bring a tooth-care “kit” along with them to school and keep it discreetly in their knapsack or purse. A little wax can help to stop contact between the braces and gums, thus preventing bleeding. 

Some students also like to bring a toothbrush and toothpaste with them to school to make sure they can brush after eating. This is especially important with clear braces, as food can show through them.

7. Flossing Will Be Difficult

There’s no doubt that flossing is more difficult with braces. Many teens choose to take advantage of flossing threaders or water picks in order to help get food out of their teeth. You can take a trip to the drug store together and help your teen pick out their favorite option.

8. They’re Worth It

Braces can cause your teen discomfort and inconvenience for some time. However, they will be well worth it in the end.

Your teen will enjoy better overall oral health because food is less likely to get stuck in straight teeth. They’ll also have increased confidence with a smile they can be proud of. While your teen is undergoing braces treatment, make sure to remind them often of the upcoming payoff.

The Power of Teen Braces

Teen braces offer a lot of advantages. Your child will get important teeth-straightening done while they’re young so they can enjoy their fancy grin for the rest of their lives. With the right preparation, your teen will be ready for their new braces in no time.

Don’t stop getting smart about orthodontics now. For quality orthodontists in the Santa Cruz area, contact us today.

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