Parents who are trying to coax reluctant teenagers into getting braces have several common-sense strategies they can use, says a local orthodontist.
"I frequently work with parents who have children who are very reluctant to have braces placed in their mouths," says Rick Battistoni, D.D.S., an orthodontist who practices in LaGrange, IL. "They are afraid their children will be picked on or called names such as 'metal mouth' or 'tin grin.' They really want their children to have straight teeth but don't know how to convince their kids of the benefits."
Dr. Battistoni says that some kids see braces as a rite of passage while others want nothing to do with them, especially if they are 13 or 14 years of age and their friends already have had their braces removed.
"I think the solution is to sit down with your child and begin to communicate," he says. "During the course of the conversation, explain why braces are important in terms of chewing, appearances and in keeping teeth positioned correctly to prevent tooth decay."
One strategy is to ask the child to see a dentist for a dental exam. "The general dentist or orthodontist will explain what the problem is, what the remedy is, and why braces may be the solution," says Dr. Battistoni. "The child will have the opportunity to ask questions."
More than 90 percent of the time, says Dr. Battistoni, children opt for the braces once they hear the pros and cons from the dentist. Every once in a while, though, a child refuses.
"There's not much you can do when a child will not cooperate," he says. "In these cases, I tell the parents not to force the child. The treatment works only when the child is committed to making braces work and cleans his or her teeth properly."
However, concludes Dr. Battistoni, there is one more thing you might want to tell your child: "About 25 percent of my patients are adults who either refused to get braces as children, or their families could not afford them. Now they realize the opportunity they missed and they want to change now what they didn't change before. They wish they had had braces when they were kids."
If you're interested in getting braces, call us at 1-866-970-0441. We'll put you in touch with a great dentist today!