Improving Your Dental Care

3 Ways You Can Help Your Young Child Get Used To Braces

A lot of pediatric dentists focus on interceptive orthodontics, or early orthodontics. This type of treatment can be performed while baby teeth are still present. The goal of interceptive orthodontics is to catch orthodontic issues early on while the jaws are still developing so that your child doesn't have to have invasive care later on. However, some young children may still need to get braces, even with early intervention. If your pediatric dentist recommends braces for your child, he or she may be sore early on as they get used to wires and brackets. Here are three ways you can help your child get used to the braces so that this treatment can be a good experience.

Look into Pain Relievers and Dental Wax

Your pediatric dental specialist can recommend some over-the-counter pain relievers, like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, and when your child can take them. The pediatric dentist will go over your child's health history with you to make sure there are no allergies or other issues before recommending a pain reliever. Your dentist might recommend that your child take one before his or her appointment to get ahead of any discomfort he or she might experience.

Besides recommending an analgesic, your dentist can provide you with dental wax or tell you where you can purchase some. Dental wax can be placed over wires and brackets so that they don't rub your child's cheeks raw. If you pick up some disposable gloves, you can help your child apply this wax in difficult-to-reach areas.

Ask the Dentist About Bite Bumps

Some children may have discomfort from braces because brackets or wires collide with teeth—this especially true for severe overbites, where the incisal edges of the upper teeth may collide with brackets on the lower teeth. Ask your dentist if bite bumps might be a good fit for your child. Bite bumps are small composite platforms that can be painted onto the biting surfaces of teeth so that your child cannot bite down all the way.

Like a mouthguard, the bite bumps keep the upper teeth and lower teeth from completely closing, so enamel, brackets, and wires have less chance of colliding with one another when your child eats or talks. Bite bumps are temporary and can be removed when your child adjusts to his or her braces or when his or her bite shifts to a more ideal position.

Shop for the Right Foods During Early Stages

You know that your child can't eat certain foods during orthodontic treatment since hard, sticky foods can bust wires and brackets. However, dietary restrictions also help to mitigate your child's soreness in the early days after he or she gets braces. You'll want to make a grocery list of soft foods so that your child can get their nutrients without feeling additional pain from eating. For instance, your child could have eggs, yogurt, oatmeal, or pancakes for breakfast. Soups, mashed potatoes, pasta, or PBJ sandwiches could work for lunch and dinner. Cottage cheese, applesauce, or bananas can work for snacks.

Contact your child's pediatric dentist for more information on early orthodontics and how you can help your child adjust to his or her braces.