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10 Tips for Surviving Braces

braces-02-624x468As a mom to four kids ages 5 to15, I’ve already been through braces, retainers, oral surgery and a MOUTH CRANK with my kids. Yes, a mouth crank is a thing. It’s called an expander and devoted mothers crank it a quarter turn each night in order to open up space in the top of kids’ mouths before the braces go on. The things we do for love, right?

Braces and other orthodontia are an expensive investment. It’s not a lot of fun but it costs a lot of money, so make the best of it with these 10 tips after the jump. Your kids will thank you! (Actually, they won’t–that’s #10.)

 


  • Ask an Orthodontist 1 of 10
    Ask an Orthodontist
    You might love that crooked grin, but parents don't know when kids need dental work. Even if their teeth look straight, your kids' teeth can be crowded and bites can be off--causing issues like headaches in the future. Your dentist can recommend a good orthodontist. And by "good" I mean "rich."
  • Start in Grade School 2 of 10
    Start in Grade School
    Now orthodontia for kids happens in phases. They might start with a retainer in 5th grade so permanent teeth actually grow in straighter. My oldest son has a tricky mouth and had braces twice!
  • Save Your Money 3 of 10
    Save Your Money
    Typically orthodontists give you a quote for all the work including adjustments and check ups. My kids' braces have been (deep breath) around $4000 each--sorry to break it to you! So put all that money you saved on your medication-free labor into some kind of bond and hang on to it. Most orthodontists take credit cards and will put you on a payment plan. Yippee!
  • Get a WaterPik 4 of 10
    Get a WaterPik
    You know how thorough they are about cleaning the bathroom, right? That's about how thorough they are about cleaning their mouth. A waterpik is fun for kids (almost too fun) and it's the only way to get food out of those braces.
  • Fight Canker Sores 5 of 10
    Fight Canker Sores
    It's hard being a metal mouth and canker sores are the worst. Help your kids put wax on any pokey parts to prevent canker sores. If they do get a bad one, try holding a little piece of Tums on it--It works!
  • Don’t Temp Them with Corn on the Cob 6 of 10
    Don't Temp Them with Corn on the Cob
    Kids can still eat most food if you cut it into small bites. The big no-nos are sticky, chewy, hard candies like Laughy Taffy. Promise your kid a big candy splurge when the braces come off. You can brake that promise later because you won't have any money left for Laughy Taffy. Oh, life lessons--So priceless!
  • Smile! 7 of 10
    Smile!
    Kids in braces are self-conscious. Show them your own old photos and laugh at yourself. Tell them they look gorgeous and help them practice smiling. I tell my kids they better open up and show those teeth in every picture because they cost me a fortune. They love it! [They don't love it.]
  • Tylenol after Tightening 8 of 10
    Tylenol after Tightening
    It's just like taking your kids for shots when they were babies--Tylenol or ibuprofen BEFORE the appointment. It hurts when they tighten those braces! Their jaw might be sore and they can get headaches for a day or two.
  • It’s Worth It 9 of 10
    It's Worth It
    Look at that handsome mug! My future daughter-in-law just got cuter. I think the high price of braces is worth it in order to steer clear of physical issues and self-consciousness later in life.
  • But Don’t Expect a Thank You 10 of 10
    But Don't Expect a Thank You
    And all I have to do now is remind him to wear his retainer for the next 5 years! It's the least glamorous and least appreciated money I ever spent--And that's including the graphing calculator I bought him for pre-Calculus.

More of my writing on Kid Scoop:

10 Classic Cartoons that Taught Me Everything I Know

School Lunch is Too Healthy

Use Superheroes to Teach Your Kids Science

Read more from me at Every Day I Write the Book.
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