< 1 min read
We just got home from our first orthodontic visit with my 7-year-old. Boy, am I overwhelmed!
I never had braces, and neither did my husband, so this is all very new to us. Plus, it seems like treatment is happening sooner and sooner for little kids. I’m glad we can be proactive, but the information (and cost) is a doozy. I’d love some moral support.
One treatment is going to require nighttime headgear. I can already sense the resistance from my child. How do children adapt to things like this? Are there any tips for learning how to sleep with the gear? What has your experience been like?
It’s one thing to convince them to go to the dentist, but this seems like a whole other level…thank you for the advice!
Marked as spam
I absolutely hated my own orthodontic experience. I was much older, almost 13 when my braces were put on, and every visit was a nightmare. I always had a fear of dentists, so this just added to that. I did not have the support of my parents going through the next three years of torture (literally), and my teeth today are no different than before braces. In fact, I would venture to say they are worse, because of all the "extra" teeth they removed prior to putting the braces on.
I never had to wear headgear, although I had a spring apparatus, which got stuck in the open position, (while I was eating soft pasta!!) and we had to make an emergency trip to the dentist office for it to be fixed so my mouth could close!
I say all these awful things about my own experience, because of the advice I'd like to share.
Be involved! Ask a hundred questions of the orthodontist, even if you have to request an office visit for another consultation. And don't be afraid to get a second opinion from another practitioner, because sometimes, less is more.
I totally agree with starting as early as necessary, but not just because there is some "possible issue," again second opinions are great. With the early start, you help your child become better adept at accepting that regular trips for dental care need to be a regimen. This hopefully will follow them into adulthood.
And rewards are great. Bribes are great. Soft chocolate chip cookies, fresh out of the oven, when the only thing your kid can eat are mashed potatoes because their mouth hurts so much, warm their hearts, as much as their bellies. Do not underestimate what "You knock this visit out of the park, and there's ice cream afrerwards," can mean to the kid who's scared of the dentist.
Good luck with this, and be sure to give lots of hugs during this time!
I had the exact same experience when my son was 7! And I felt the exact same way. He also needed headgear to wear at night and, in addition to 12 month of that, he needed 6 months of braces. I had braces as a teenager and it was almost 2 years of hell so I was so worried about my little guy. And I really thought the whole thing was happening way too soon. BUT...it was actually great.
My son adapted to his spacers and headgear very quickly, he learned to love going to the orthodontist because he got a prize each time and, most importantly, nothing that was done ever caused him too much discomfort. Were there nights when wearing the headgear was met with resistance? Sure. But I would let him take a break from it one night a week, or on special occasions. Instead of making it a MUST-DO, I made it a LETS-DO, in other words, let's do this and just get it over with. I was empathetic to his annoyances and I met him halfway when necessary. But for the most part, he just did it. No questions asked.
What I learned about the process is that starting them with orthodontics that young is actually much better. At that age, their mouth is changing so quickly that it's easier to correct issues they might be having in a less painful and less painful way. Our amazing orthodontist put it like this: Adjusting these problems at an early age may limit what you may have to do in their teen years when they will be much more prone to pain and embarrassment. Early intervention also might actually save you money down the road. Maybe he was just a really great salesman but everything he said they were going to do, they did and it seems to have worked very well. My son is now 12 and so far, he just has to wear a retainer at night. And there has been no new talk of any new work that needs to be done. We'll see what happens at his next visit.
Good luck! I'm sure it won't be as bad as anyone in your family thinks.