Helping Your Teen Adjust to Braces

Helping Your Teen Adjust to Braces

Like many parents before you, you’re taking the plunge and outfitting your teen with braces to give them a great dental (and smile!) advantage down the road.

At any given time in the United States, there are about 4 million people who are wearing braces, which means there's a good deal of collective wisdom about adjusting to these orthodontics.

Here at Willow Glen Dental Specialists, our own team of dental experts certainly has a few best practices to share when it comes to helping your teen adjust to braces. Let’s take a look.

A preemptive step for comfort

Your teen is likely going to be a little anxious when they first get braces, so it’s a good idea to minimize any discomfort beforehand. We recommend that you give them an over-the-counter pain-reliever like acetaminophen about an hour before the appointment.

This medication will cover the two-hour process it takes for us to place the braces, which can be uncomfortable for the jaw and mouth.

Afterward, your teen may experience some discomfort for a week or two and you can continue to use acetaminophen as needed.

Be prepared with an orthodontic toolkit

There are a few tools that should be in your teen’s braces arsenal, starting with orthodontic wax. The wax plays a key role during the first few weeks as your teen’s mouth adjusts to the brackets and wires, which can irritate soft tissues. With the wax, they can smooth the contact between the braces and the inside of their mouth.

If there is some irritation in their mouth, be sure to have a salt water rinse on hand, which can soothe the sores.

And get your child a new, soft bristle toothbrush that will help if their teeth and gums are sore after we first put the braces on.

One final note, if your child plays sports, it’s important that they have a mouthguard to cover the braces.

Try fun, soft foods

During the first week or two, eating and drinking is going to feel strange, so try not to exacerbate the problem with foods that require lots of chewing or that can get stuck.

To start them out, we recommend soft foods, so load up on soups, scrambled eggs, pasta, applesauce, bananas, pudding, yogurt, guacamole, ice cream, and anything else you can think of. You know your teen best, so you know what foods might ease this first week or two and provide some comfort along the way. 

As your child adjusts to the braces and gets used to cleaning them, you can gradually get back to their usual diet.


If you have more questions or concerns about easing your child into braces, we’re here to help. To get started, please contact our office in San Jose, California, by calling 408-478-9081, or you can book an appointment with us online.

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