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Five Ways to Help Your Kids Adjust to Braces

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Shot of an adorable little boy running along the beach with his family

Summer vacation is a good time to start your kid’s orthodontic treatment. Why? Because it can be easier to adjust to braces during the summer, when kids are on break from school. It’s less stressful to learn to talk, eat and live with braces without the added pressure of a new school year and social demands. Plus, the cool, soft foods of summer are ideal for soothing the irritation that can occur when braces are first installed. By the time school is in session again, your child’s comfort and confidence levels will be higher.

Important note: These tips work great in any season, and for any age group. So, if it’s you getting braces instead of your child, or you’ve decided the best time to get started with braces is winter break, read on and learn how to accelerate the adjustment to braces with the tips below.

Getting used to braces

  1. Know what to expect – find out from your orthodontist what to expect during the process and afterwards. This varies according to the type of braces, but feeling a little pressure on teeth is typical during application, followed by a sore mouth and a sensation of tooth-tightness for the first few days. Knowing exactly what to expect can help.
  2. Stock up on soft foods and supplies – For wire braces, orthodontic wax can help. It can coat braces’ wires so that they don’t irritate the mouth. Ask your orthodontist if wax will be needed, and what other supplies to have on hand. And do stock up on soft and soothing food to eat during the first days with new braces. Opt for nourishing options like green smoothies, yogurt, and oatmeal. These choices not only provide essential nutrients but also require little to no chewing, reducing the risk of irritating a sensitive mouth. Soups and broths are also excellent as they are comforting and hydrating, helping to soothe any soreness you might feel. Avoid anything that might stick to the braces or require biting into, as this can increase discomfort and potentially harm the brackets.
  3. Spend more time on oral hygiene – Since food particles can easily get caught in braces, it’s important to brush very thoroughly but gently, rinse and floss. Orthodontists may recommend using brace-friendly cleaning tools such as an interdental toothbrush, oral irrigators or “water picks”, pre-threaded dental floss and mouthwash. 
  4. Plan to see the orthodontist often – As the teeth move into their desired new positions, braces will have to be adjusted frequently. Expect a little discomfort for a few days following each adjustment.
  5. Think about the result – When orthodontic devices are annoying your child, remind them that braces are important. Not only will they get a nicer-looking smile, but braces can also result in healthier teeth and gums. Teeth that are well-aligned can be easier to brush properly, reducing the chances of decay and disease, and can also make it easier to speak clearly and eat nutritious foods. This little bit of annoyance really will be worth it soon, and all throughout their lives.

Parents: Adjusting to the Cost of Braces

The cost of braces can be a challenge for many families. On average, braces cost $5,000 – $6,000. And that price goes up for braces made of clear materials, treatment for complex oral issues, and even your location – residents of bigger cities can expect to pay more for orthodontics.

Dental insurance can help, but typically has an annual maximum spending limit of $1,000 – $1,500 and may also have a lifetime limit on coverage for orthodontics. That can leave families paying much of the cost out of pocket. 

Another option to consider is joining a dental savings plan, a trusted alternative to traditional dental insurance. Unlike dental insurance, dental savings plans do not have deductibles, annual spending limits or waiting before you qualify for reduced rates. 

Dental savings plan members report saving an average of 50%* on their dental care, for braces the typical savings is about 20% on the cost of orthodontic treatment, with select plans offering even deeper discounts. 

There are plans that fit every dental care need and budget. The quickest way to find the perfect dental plan for your needs is with our online dental plan finder — just answer a few questions and you’ll receive a personalized plan recommendation in minutes. Want a quick peek at how much you can save on braces right now? Use our calculator below. 

*Discount Health Program consumer and provider surveys indicate average savings of 50%. Savings may vary by provider, location, and plan.   
All cost averages obtained from the DentalPlans.com procedure search tool, and independent research.

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