While Dr. Khanna is now a Park Slope orthodontist and deals with braces and Invisalign day in and day out, at one point he was a patient himself. So, he knows kids, teens, and, yes, even adults sometimes have a little apprehension about the thought of having metal wires and brackets adhered to their teeth for a prolonged period of time. Our Brooklyn Invisalign patients may get off easier, but they still have their concerns. When kids are feeling positive and prepared about undergoing orthodontic treatment, the process tends to go a lot more smoothly, and they’re more likely to do their part in caring for their new hardware. Based on our experience at Fresh Orthodontics, we’ve compiled a list of ways to get kids excited about braces or Invisalign and we’ve even put a Brooklyn spin on some of them.
1. Keep Them Informed
Kids may be tiny but they’re smart and, just like grown ups, they like to know what’s going on. Everyone feels some anxiety about the unknown, so sitting them down and explaining exactly what will happen when they get their braces put on (emphasizing the no needles part never hurts) can make them feel more confident. Ask your orthodontist to get in on the action. At Fresh Orthodontics, we always give our patients a detailed accounting of the process at their initial consultation.
2. Focus on the Results
If you had braces yourself, discuss your experience and be sure to throw in how having a healthy smile has improved your life. If you haven’t had orthodontic treatment, look up some success stories online. Let them know orthodontic treatment won’t last forever but the results can. Braces and Invisalign are merely a means to a very awesome end: A perfect smile! Keep reminding them of this throughout treatment, so they’ll keep their eye on the prize.
3. Get Crafty
Another idea for how to get your child to look forward to braces involves busting out some poster board, scissors and glue. Make a collage together of their favorite celebrities with braces. Knowing that one of their idols rocked tooth jewelry may help them ease into the transition and make them feel less self-conscious.
4. Let Them Customize Their Braces
If your kid will be wearing metal braces, give them the chance to show off their style. They can choose colorful elastics to brighten things up or they can try WildSmiles, which we offer at Fresh Orthodontics. All braces feature a pad that attaches the bracket to the teeth but unlike regular old braces, WildSmiles has patented pad designs in different shapes like flowers, stars and footballs so kiddos can customize their look.
5. Set Up a System of Rewards
One of the best tips to get your kids excited to care for their braces is to utilize some positive reinforcement. When wearing braces, your child will have to stay away from certain foods, become a brushing and flossing champ and follow our instructions. If they’re using Invisalign Teen, they’ll need to keep track of their aligners and wear them for the prescribed amount of time. Creating a system of rewards helps encourage good orthodontic habits. Thankfully, living in Brooklyn means there are tons of things you can use as a prize. Here are a few of our faves:
- Hit up Superhero Supply for a fresh cape or just browse and let your child’s imagination run wild.
- Take in a puppet show at Puppetworks.
- Let them build something awesome at the Brooklyn Block Lab in the Brooklyn Children’s Museum.
- When the weather warms up, have a picnic in one of the many awesome parks in the area. Since it’s your kid’s prize, they get to decide on the cuisine.
- Visit the Brooklyn Public Library for books galore or any number of fun free happenings.
- Let your child choose from our lists of the best kids’ activities in Brooklyn. Check out the winter options or save some scratch with free family fun.
6. Stock Up on Braces-Friendly Foods
When your child gets braces, they’ll need to make some adjustments to their eating habits (sorry, popcorn, you’ve gotta go). Plus, they’ll want soft, cold, easy-to-eat treats when they’re first put on and after adjustments. Go shopping together and fill the fridge with things they can snack on before kicking off treatment. Spend some time picking out recipes and find ways to adapt their favorite meals. For your convenience, we happen to have a list of the best braces-friendly restaurants in Brooklyn. While we do have to caution you to indulge in sugary treats in moderation, the occasional milkshake or egg cream always encourages braces-related excitement and it’s soothing for tender teeth. We recommend Shake Shack or Brooklyn Farmacy and Soda Fountain as well as L’Albero Dei Gelati.
While these ideas will all help make your child’s transition into orthodontic treatment a fun one, the single best thing you can do to get your child excited about braces is to find the right orthodontist. When kids have a rapport with their doctor and actually like going to their appointments, treatment is a breeze (well, at least breezier). If you’re interested in Invisalign or braces for kids in Brooklyn, we know just the place. Fresh Orthodontics is a family-friendly practice, and we’re all about creating an enjoyable experience for our patients that results in a gorgeous, healthy smile. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.