Teenagers receiving orthodontic treatment have always been a common sight at many schools and colleges around Victoria. While braces and aligner treatments are now more accepted by their teenage peers, there can still be resistance; knowing how to approach this problem may make your job easier.
Teens orthodontic treatment isn’t just for cosmetic reasons (although you will have a great smile at the end) – many times it is needed to realign the jaw, correct over/under bites, and help prevent major dental issues that could potentially arise in the future. Teenage years are the best time to take advantage of correcting these issues.
How to overcome resistance
So what do you do if your teenager is adamant about not having treatment? As orthodontic professionals, we have a few suggestions to help bring your child into treatment, as well as some of the most common concerns we hear from teens (and parents) during an initial consultation.
Teenagers can sometimes seem vague, but as parents, we usually know our children pretty well. Taking the time to talk, ask questions, and find out what concerns your teenager may have are all great starting points. The more you learn about their concerns with having treatment, the easier it is for us to give good case examples of how to address those concerns when you share them with us.
We hear lots of questions and concerns from both parents and kids during orthodontic consultations, but there has been a shift in the playground. As more and more teenagers have braces it has become more acceptable and verging on fashionable to have them.
“Braces are not cool,” “Brace-Face,” “Metal-Mouth” – these are regular phrases we hear about, and teenagers may be understandably worried about how their peers will react to seeing them in braces.
Social media can help
In this case, the Internet and social media can really help to relieve this worry. Does your child have any friends that already have braces, or siblings of those friends? Do they admire anyone at school or in your community that had braces? It may help to find a teacher, coach, or other adult that they trust and admire to encourage them and help them see the long-range benefits of having the healthiest smile possible.
Choosing the correct time
Looking in the mirror right after getting braces definitely takes some getting used to. We have found that confidence often comes with time and familiarity for our patients. That’s why some of our patients choose to start their braces treatment during holidays or during a break from school. 1 week is enough time for teens to get used to the brackets and wires, allowing them to feel more comfortable before venturing back to school.
It’s true; some kids do experience minor growing pains shortly after adjustments, but this usually goes away quickly and a little painkiller can fix that (Check for allergies). Getting braces on or off should not hurt at all.
Help through motivation
]The average treatment times for braces is about 18 months. This can seem like a really long time, especially to teenagers, but visits are usually every 4-6 weeks. It may help to keep track of progress by creating a counter or calendar to work towards. We also encourage patients to take photos on their own (hashtag #braces #MP ortho ) to keep themselves motivated. We have some great before and after photos, so make sure to ask to see these at your initial consultation.
Parents of teenagers play a big role in the length of treatment too; they need to ensure their kids keep up with regular adjustment visits, maintain their dental hygiene, keep visiting their dental GP and use their appliances (elastics for example) as directed by the Advanced Orthodontics team.
Dr Hall and Dr Poon are both trained in the USA and are members of the ASO, and know the importance of keeping themselves educated and updated with the latest technology. Moving teeth takes precision and experience, which also helps ensure treatment times are as minimal as possible.
The importance of co-operation
With the improvement in aligner therapy over the last few years, many teens can even be treated with aligners –however the quality of the end result will depend on the co-operation of the teenager -and this usually requires wear of the aligners 22 hours per day .
Braces are an investment for the future
Teens realise that braces can be a burden on the family budget, which can make them feel anxious about going ahead with treatment.
Braces need to be seen as an investment in the future. Having straight and healthy teeth will ultimately not only help to prevent future dental issues, but it also will have a huge impact on your child’s success in education, career and relationships.
Some Private Health Insurance policies may cover a portion of the cost of braces, but not all insurance plans offer orthodontic coverage, and not all people have insurance. So we offer monthly, interest-free braces payment plans that cover the length of treatment.
When it comes to teenagers, as well as children, we know the concerns they face. We can offer advice, share the experiences of other patients, and make them feel comfortable and confident about having treatment. We will improve their smile, which builds confidence and self-esteem, for the rest of their lives. #bracesarecool