Braces provide a wonderful way for children and adults alike to achieve straight smiles. These devices have been modified through the years and decades to work in an optimal fashion. However, they can still cause some level of discomfort. You do want your children to realize the value of such dental tools, and part of that is helping them to alleviate the discomfort.
Ask What’s Normal
Think about what happens when you feel some sense of discomfort. For example, you might feel a pain in your chest. As you begin to think about all of the terrible things that this pain could indicate, the pain may seem to grow worse. In other words, if your child thinks he or she is experiencing abnormal pain, he or she may begin to panic and envision the pain as worse than it actually is. To know what is normal and what is not, you should have a conversation early on with the orthodontist.
Learn to Articulate Pain
When children feel pain, they sometimes just say that their braces hurt, but they might not be able to articulate exactly what that pain is. This lack of articulation makes the pain or uncomfortable feeling more difficult to treat. For example, your children’s braces might be too tight. However, if they don’t know how to articulate that tightness, then the orthodontist might not know to loosen them. Learning the types of questions to ask to help determine what the problem is can prove useful.
Follow the Directions
The orthodontist is likely to provide your children with a list of directions once dental devices are on their teeth. They might not be able to eat certain foods. Children who have traditional structures usually cannot chew gum. If they start to break the rules, then their mouths might feel uncomfortable. Once they express some level of pain or an uncomfortable feeling, you may want to ask if they have been following all of the guidelines. Reverting back to the guidelines and working to abide them in a precise manner can assist with the issues.
Ask for Wax
Wires can sometimes poke into the gums, which is an unpleasant feeling. Wax, available at the orthodontist, is generally useful in resolving this issue. If your children are wearing these types of traditional structures, you may want to ask for some wax before leaving the orthodontist. Ask the professional to show your children how to use the wax so that they can be prepared to alleviate some of the pain that they might feel.
Choose Soft and Cold Foods and Drinks
Think about what you would do if you had pain in your mouth. Your first inclination might be to reach for a cold glass of water or a cup of ice cream. While you don’t want to start encouraging unhealthy eating habits as a way to deal with the pain of such devices, you can allow your kids to have a treat once in awhile. Also, this time is a good one for the new of you to research healthy recipes together that can be used to reduce the pain.
Take a Nap
You’ve probably had the experience of feeling pain somewhere in your body and then feeling better once you woke up from a rest. Pains your children are experiencing might just be temporary. For example, they may have a minor irritation that will go away on its own in a very short period of time. However, because they are awake, it feels as though the pain is taking forever to go away. Turn on one of their favorite movies, or read them one of their favorite books. Doing so can help them to relax. Both the relaxation and the nap can help to reduce the pain.
Keep Medication Handy
While you don’t want to teach your kids to reach for medication every time that they feel a little bit of pain, having some over-the-counter medications in your house can prove handy. Make sure that you are checking the dosage requirements as they are generally different for children than for adults. Also, keep in mind that medication tends to be useful in resolving short-term pain. The problem your child is experiencing might require a visit to the orthodontist.
Pain and uncomfortable feelings are often worse when people have the time to just sit around and think about how they are feeling, especially when the sufferers are children. If none of the other methods are working or appropriate right now, try to get their mind away from the pain. Suggesting that they go aside to play with their friends or taking them to an art class at a local studio can help to distract them. This technique can work particularly well when the pain is mild.
Practice Relaxation Techniques
Pain tends to feel worse when people aren’t relaxed. Your children might be getting themselves so upset about the pain. Therefore, you can teach them relaxation techniques to calm down when they start to feel this uncomfortable feeling creep in. You may actually want to encourage some of these routines in their daily lives. For example, if they learn to practice yoga or to meditate every day or several times per week, they may notice a reduction in pain because their minds are not focused on it.
Visit the Orthodontist
Sometimes, your children are reporting excessive pain because they are too focused on it. In other cases, you may have a real emergency. Learning to tell the difference is pivotal for both you and your children. If you suspect that a serious issue is occurring, you need to call the orthodontist right away to bring your children in to have the problem resolved.
Pain is often part of the process when it comes to fixing the teeth; however, that doesn’t mean frequent pain or a prodigious amount of it is normal. Still though, learning how to handle minor irritations is important. You can take more steps toward managing pain by calling the orthodontist today.
Ways Your Child Can Alleviate Discomfort with Braces
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Dr. Michael McDermott earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in both Chemistry and Biology from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN. He followed his undergraduate degrees with a doctorate in dental surgery at the University of Minnesota, where he graduated with highest distinction.
Dr. Mike then furthered his dental education by earning a masters and certificate in Orthodontics at the University of St. Louis in Missouri.