One of the worst parts about having braces is not the pain necessarily as much as it is the time. After your kids receive their braces, the next question they will most likely ask is, “When do I get these off?” Unfortunately, they usually don’t like the answer.
One way to help stave off the potential disappointment you may see in their faces is to explain to them the benefits of having braces in the first place. Telling them that their smile will become clearer and their teeth healthier should make them feel better.
In addition, try to remind them of why they have braces in the first place. Particularly if they have to have them on for an extended amount of time, they may be confused as to why. If that arises, here are a few reasons you can tell them.
1. Your Treatment Plan Doesn’t Align With What’s Happening In Your Mouth
Generally speaking, orthodontist visits are around once a month – possibly more, if the orthodontist feels they’re necessary. Between visits, however, things can happen inside your mouth that prolong the amount of time the braces will have to stay on, such as wisdom teeth coming in or a cavity inside one of the teeth. In some cases, a tooth that needed to be extracted and wasn’t will push into the braces and cause them to fall out of alignment. This can delay the process considerably as the doctor will then need to take care of the issue and reset the braces.
Make sure you tell your orthodontist whenever you notice something out of place. Next to your child, you’re the one who sees their mouth more than anyone else, so ask questions and remind them to tell you if they feel something strange. The second they communicate something remotely noteworthy – even if you think it’s nothing – call your orthodontist to communicate what happened.
Here are a few other things you can do to help ensure your child’s schedule stays on track:
- Never skip appointments. If you have to skip, for whatever reason, call as soon as you know and try to get another appointment as close to the original as you can.
- Schedule your appointments somewhat close together. Any more than a month or two between appointments is too long for your orthodontist to stay on top of your progress unless they specifically say otherwise.
- Follow the instructions that the orthodontist gives you in the take-home packet. Make sure you’re wearing your rubber bands, avoiding difficult candy, or anything else they’ve advised.
- Be on time for all appointments. If you’re late, the doctor may have to push you back a little bit to make time for other appointments, or even reschedule if it gets too bad
- Do all work on time. If your orthodontist says something needs to be removed or fixed, get it done as quickly as possible.
2. How Well Your Child’s Mouth Takes to the Braces
Not everyone reacts to braces the same way. Some people’s teeth move freely, shortening the amount of time the braces will have to stay on, while others’ are more stubborn, prolonging the treatment indefinitely. When an orthodontist tells you that it will take a certain amount of time, they are making the best approximation of that timeline based on what they see in your child’s mouth and their experience dealing with other patients.
Still, problems can crop up during the treatment that also lengthens the amount of time braces could stay on. Ankylosis, for example, is a condition that keeps your teeth from moving as much, which normally would be a good thing except it combats the very thing that braces are trying to accomplish. TMJ problems can be caused by arthritis and can also inhibit progress.
Ultimately, it boils down to how well your child’s body responds to the treatment, which can change wildly from person to person. Although your orthodontist may suggest a timetable of six to twelve months, if they expect at the outset that it will take longer, be prepared to wait at least that amount.
3. The Original Plan May Be For Longer Than Normal
What looks abnormal to you and your child may just be the plan all along according to your orthodontist. During the initial evaluation, your orthodontist will examine the jaw structure, teeth strength, and other factors to determine how long the braces should stay on. They will need to gather as much data as possible to make an approximation, but it could be longer depending on what they see.
Keep in mind too that when your orthodontist is making their evaluation about your child’s braces, they are not only trying to correct smiles and straighten teeth, they’re also looking to offset long-term health issues that they see may be a problem down the road. For that reason, the timetable can fluctuate, but as long as you’re doing what you’re supposed to in regards to your children’s teeth, your orthodontist will keep up their end of the bargain as well and help create a beautiful smile.
Fix Your Smile Today
Contact Gorton & Schmohl Orthodontics today to set up your consultation. There’s no reason to put off a visit to our helpful team of professionals. It is our goal to help you make the most of your smile.
When your teeth are aligned properly and your jaw is flowing smoothly, you will find more reasons to flash those pearly whites every day. Let Gorton & Schmohl Orthodontics be your partner in good oral hygiene.
Gorton & Schmohl Orthodontics
900 Larkspur Landing Circle, Suite 200,
Larkspur, California 94939
Dr. Jasmine Gorton, a Bay Area native, graduated from UC Berkeley with Bachelor degrees in both Integrative Biology and Social Sciences and then went on to graduate from Harvard with honors for her Doctorate in Dental Medicine.
She continued her education at UCSF with a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Growth and Development, followed by an Orthodontic Residency with a Master of Science in Oral Biology.
She is Board Certified in Orthodontics. She received the American Association of Orthodontics Award for Craniofacial Research and the Harvard Odontological Society Award for Excellence in Research. Her work on preventing decay around braces has been published in the American Journal of Orthodontics.