Teenage years can be some of the scariest and most overwhelming experiences of your child’s life. It’s the first time that they really experience drastic change, whether in academics, in the people surrounding them, in social pressures — not to mention the physical, emotional, and mental changes happening in their bodies!
Most teenagers prioritize one key thing to survive high school: fitting in. In an environment with mean popular kids, bullies, and where physical appearance is of vital importance, teens don’t want to be at the center of attraction. And what worse way is there to stand out than having braces?
Because braces will change their physical appearance and make them look more distinguishable, teens are often reluctant to have them despite the constant advice of their parents and dentists. If you are facing a teenager who wants nothing to do with braces, here’s how you can deal with it effectively.
Common Reasons Teens Don’t Want Braces and How to Address Them
Before saying your piece and explaining the importance of having braces, a more effective way to go about it is to start listening. Asking your teenagers why they don’t want to have braces and actively listening to their reasons allows you to better address their reservations and give more accurate advice.
While teenagers may have different reasons they don’t want braces, some of the most common ones that dentists hear are the following:
“I will look ridiculous!”
Physical appearance matters a lot to teenagers. After all, this is the time when they begin recognizing themselves and exploring self-expression through their style in clothing, choice of music, and how they present themselves. Braces are not often part of the look that teenagers are aiming to go for.
Admittedly, getting braces and seeing their new appearance is going to need some getting used to, but as they get more familiar with it, their confidence builds. Something parents can do to address this concern is to recommend that their teen gets braces during school break so that they can get used to it before others see it.
There are also a lot of ways to customize braces, with a wide variety of bracket sizes and band colors they can choose from. If they want the least visibility possible, there are clear braces, Invisalign, and lingual braces placed on the insides of the teeth instead of the outside surface. Speak to your teen’s dentist for possible options.
“People at school will make fun of me!”
Teenagers with braces are known to be the subject of bullying and name-calling. This might be something that your child is afraid of. But thanks to modern innovations in dentistry, nicknames like “metal-mouth” or “brace-face” may no longer be relevant. Invisible, clear, and lingual braces are hardly noticeable and may be options that your teen will be more comfortable with.
If these are not options, it’s worth it to encourage your child to seek support from teachers, friends, and family members who have had braces. Plus, there are a lot of celebrities with braces too! This moral support might help alleviate your child’s worries about braces “not being cool.”
“It hurts to have braces!”
Your teen may have heard from friends or family members that having braces hurts. While it’s true that some may experience pain when braces are first installed and after adjustments, the stories that your child has heard may have been slightly exaggerated.
Bleeding gums, the inability to eat, and spike-like sensations are rare and worst-case scenarios. Often, the pain is minimal and can be relieved with pain relievers or cold compresses. Adjustments are done only so often, which means it will only hurt for a couple of hours after their dental appointment.
“It’s going to take years before I can have them removed!”
It’s true that braces can take years to fully fix dental issues. On average, they can take 18 months to several years, depending on the severity of the problem. But this period can be worth it with the right maintenance and oral hygiene. Ensuring that your child visits the dentist for adjustments when scheduled can also minimize the treatment time.
Braces are Investments
There was a time when having braces was the trend. Everyone wanted it, even if they didn’t need it. But braces are not all about aesthetics. More importantly, they are orthodontic treatments that solve major dental problems and prevent issues from arising in the future. Some dental issues that require braces include:
- Improper jaw alignment
- Overbite, underbite, open bite, or crossbite
Teenage years are usually when these issues start to happen and it’s important to treat them right away to prevent them from worsening or causing much more serious dental problems. If recommended by the dentist, braces are the solution, allowing your child to have healthy, strong, and straight teeth both now and in the future.