Rebellious Teens and Orthodontic Treatment

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If your family dentist has referred your teenager to the orthodontist, you may have experienced some resistance from them. Children are often referred to ortho around age 5 for preliminary treatment, and they usually go along without any fuss. However, teens can be a real challenge when it comes to orthodontic treatment. What can you do to encourage your teen to comply?

  1. Instead of flying off the handle, sit down and talk it out calmly. Teens are sensitive, and if you can get to the bottom of why they’re hesitant, you may be able to call a truce.
  2. Let the Orthodontist explain why braces are recommended for them. Kids compare themselves to their peers constantly, so educating them with their records (x-rays, models, pictures, etc.) can allow them to objectively see why braces would benefit them in the long run.
  3. Be honest with them about discomfort. While monthly adjustments can be uncomfortable, the pain is short-lived, and over-the-counter pain meds help tremendously.
  4. Be sympathetic concerning how they look with braces. Today, approximately 75% of kids wear orthodontic appliances. They are extremely common and are considered the norm. There are also some options that help conceal braces such as a clear series of trays and ceramic brackets. Wearing braces can also be fun because they get to choose different colors of bands that fit over the front of the brackets.
  5. Be realistic about treatment time. Most orthodontic treatment is completed in 18 months. While this does seem like a lifetime, keeping up with appointments, following the orthodontist’s instructions, wearing any additional appliances (rubber bands, headgear, etc.), maintaining good home care, and celebrating progress along the way can help them stay encouraged throughout treatment.

Being a teenager can be difficult at times, and mostly, they want to be heard and accepted. Following these steps can have your teen saying “yes” to ortho, and they may even clean their room!

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