Is there a “right” time for your teen to get braces? Many factors ranging from schedules to family finances can influence the timing of your child’s orthodontic treatment. It’s not unusual for teens to be reluctant or embarrassed about getting braces and try to come up with their own creative reasons to avoid treatment! That’s why summer is an ideal time for teens to get braces: they have privacy to adjust to braces outside of school, more flexible schedules for appointments, and plenty of time to develop good hygiene habits at home.
1. More adjustment time outside of school.
Teens with crooked teeth may be pretty self-conscious about their smiles and actually excited to get braces! If several of your teen’s friends already have braces, your teen may be eager to “join the club” and get braces, too. However, the reality of having braces, including difficulty eating certain foods, challenges brushing, and even some pain eating certain foods can quickly turn excitement into frustration. Getting braces outside of the school year gives your teen more time to adjust to these initial aches and pains. Your child will also appreciate having time at home to figure out tricky issues, like cleaning embarrassing food debris from the front wires.
2. Simplify appointment scheduling.
Getting braces typically requires several appointments, including an initial consultation, secondary opinion (if necessary), initial set-up, and follow-up appointment. Then, your teen will need regularly monthly check-in appointments. It’s much easier to schedule these appointments all at once at the beginning of the summer than try to cram everything in before the start of the school year. Avoid conflicts with family vacations or sports camps by scheduling your teen’s initial consultation as soon as school ends. By the time these summer activities roll around, your teen will already be a pro at braces! Even better, by scheduling in the summer you will avoid conflicts with schoolwork and unnecessary class absence.
3. Develop good hygiene habits.
Let’s be honest: it can be a struggle to get teens to brush and floss before bed each night even without braces. Adding braces to the picture adds a new level of frustration for teens and parents. Even when following a braces-friendly diet, the metal wires and brackets can trap small food debris. Regular cleaning after every meal is essential for good oral hygiene. When kids are busy at school, it’s easy to let these habits slide or avoid brushing altogether. After all, who wants to be that kid in the bathroom after lunch with a toothbrush and floss? When your child has time to adjust to braces at home, it’s much easier to develop good hygiene and teach your child the value of regular brushing. Once teens master how to brush and remove food debris from their braces, they’ll be confident with a quick mid-cleaning at school.
When to get braces is a personal decision for every family. However, if your family has the flexibility to choose a start date, early summer is the best time for teens to get braces.
Set your teen up for success by minimizing many of the challenges that come with braces, including an awkward adjustment period, appointment scheduling conflicts, and hygiene issues. Your teen will have an easier experience getting started with braces– and that’s good news for everyone!