Teenagers’ lives are packed full of events, social occasions and exciting life firsts – from that first day of high school to formals, first dates and growing independence.
By nature, teens can also be self-conscious about their appearance and highly aware of what other people think, which may see them a little concerned about navigating this growing social schedule with braces.
So, here’s a quick guide to teens, life and braces.
In good company
Well, for a start it’s important that any teen embarking on the orthodontic journey understands they won’t be alone in this boat. There’s a good chance many of their friends will be undergoing orthodontic treatment alongside them.
For those who do have orthodontic treatment like braces in their teens, they can also take comfort in the fact that what may feel like an inconvenience now will set them up for lifetime of confidence and better dental health.
In the meantime, that growing social schedule can be handled with ease with a few helpful hints.
First day of braces
The first time a teen unveils their new braces to the world can feel like a bit of a milestone. It’s likely this new feature of their smile will attract a bit of attention from friends and there’s an equal likelihood most, if not all, of this attention will be positive.
In this day and age most teens appreciate the value of braces and understand it’s almost a rite of passage.
Meanwhile, getting used to brackets and arch wires in their mouth can take a couple of days. But the good news is this sensation quickly passes and soon it will feel completely normal to have braces.
An increased social schedule is a hallmark of the teen years, with parties among the most anticipated features.
Although they might be keen to let their hair down, teens with braces should be mindful about the food and drinks they consume at these events.
Sugary foods aren’t great for dental hygiene, especially for people with braces, while hard foods like crisp bread rolls, nuts and even crunchy fruit and vegetables have the potential to damage brackets and wires.
Meanwhile sugary drinks like soft drinks leave a residue on teeth that results in an increased risk of cavities. If your teen is of drinking age, this also applies to sugary alcoholic beverages.
If sugar-laden treats can’t be avoided, extra attention to dental hygiene is a must.
The first day of high school is a watershed moment for any teen, and we all remember the little butterflies that can come with this life transition.
As Orthodontics Australia notes parents can do small things to help build their child’s confidence as they start at a new school, especially if they’re feeling self-conscious about their braces.
“New clothes or shoes at the start of the school year can make your child feel more confident, or if your child has to wear a uniform, try offering to take them for a new haircut or to get new stationery. And chances are, they’ll get to school and see plenty of other children with braces too!” Orthodontics Australia suggests.
Dating is often a feature of the high school social scene, and a word to the wise here about dental hygiene with braces could be timely.
Regular brushing and flossing help keep the teeth and braces clean and free of food debris, and if they’re dining out as part of a date, a quick swish with water after eating can also assist.
And no, braces do not affect that memorable first kiss!
Whether your child plays contact sports or is involved in physical activities like skateboarding and mountain bike riding, a mouth guard is a must.
Mouthguards protect the teeth, mouth and jaw against injuries and are particularly important if your teen has braces.
Talk to your orthodontist about having a custom-fitted mouthguard made as these offer the best protection and fit.
Whether it’s Year 10, Year 11 or Year 12, school formals are considered the pinnacle of a teen’s high school social career.
Orthodontics Australia has some great advice for parents of teens with braces who are looking towards their formal.
They suggest teens may want to pick braces with clear or neutral brackets, or perhaps Invisalign treatment would be appropriate, but most importantly it’s about building confidence no matter whether they’re wearing braces or not.
“Leaving enough time for a mini photo-shoot around the house or garden before you go will help them to practice their winning smile, and will give you a good opportunity to give them plenty of compliments!,” Orthodontics Australia suggests.
“Our advice – smile loud and proud. In years to come, they won’t be looking back on the photos and regretting having orthodontic treatment, so the important thing is that they just relax and enjoy their night!”
The final adjustment
If you’re the parent of a teen considering or undergoing orthodontic treatment, it’s important you embrace the orthodontic journey together, explaining the benefits of treatment.
Just a few short years of treatment in their teens can set them up for increased confidence in later years along with a lifetime of better dental health.
About Norwest Orthodontics
Norwest Orthodontics specialises in helping you achieve a great smile, no matter your age. We feature a range of orthodontic treatments that span from early intervention right through to remedial adult work.
We also have a suite of treatments available that include discreet, removeable Invisalign braces, and welcome the opportunity to work with you to achieve the smile you’ve always dreamed of.