By Dr. Steve Tanner
Set the scene: we just recommended braces for your son or daughter and you scheduled the appointment to start treatment. It is important to know what to expect on this journey toward straight teeth and a beautiful smile!
First, remember that orthodontics is a gradual process and patience is required. Most full mouth cases take about 2 years to complete. Here are some things you can do as a parent to help this experience go smoothly and be successful.
Before the initial appointment, be prepared with children’s Tylenol or Motrin for your child following their appointments. Teeth will begin to get sore within 12 hours after placing the braces and remain tender up to 72 hours. This can vary from patient to patient. You can continue to give pain medication as needed until the soreness subsides.
Since the teeth will be sore, your child will appreciate having soft foods in the house. Some ideas include yogurt, Jell-o, applesauce, cottage cheese, pancakes, oatmeal, fruit cups, pasta, smoothies, milkshakes, soup, scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, and ice cream.
It is also helpful to purchase a quality electric toothbrush like an Oral B/Braun or Sonicare along with a WaterPik to help keep teeth clean. Brushing and flossing become much more challenging with braces and requires more time. Keep an eye on your child’s mouth to make sure they are brushing sufficiently to stay clean.
Don't worry about being too prepared right now though. At the end of the first appointment, one of our staff members will always explain how to properly clean the teeth, what foods to avoid, how to prepare certain foods to prevent damaging the appliances, what to do in the case of emergencies, and answer any questions that you or your child may have regarding treatment.
We look forward to working with you and your family to create a healthy, beautiful smile and to make the experience as positive as possible.