What to Expect During Your Kid’s First Orthodontist Visit (and After)

Preparing for your child's orthodontic treatment

So you have taken the first step. You have acknowledged that your child might benefit from braces. You’ve scheduled an orthodontics appointment with an orthodontist in Omaha or elsewhere. But now you are wondering what to expect at that first visit to the orthodontist in preparation for treatment.

You have many questions about orthodontic treatment, and we’re here to reassure you that you’re not alone. It’s only natural to wonder what happens at the first orthodontist appointment. Read on to understand what you should know to be prepared and ensure a great experience for you and your child.

Why does my child need early orthodontic treatment?

Before we discuss what you should do to prepare for your child’s first visit to the orthodontist, let’s reinforce the importance of why early orthodontic treatment is essential. And to do that, the best way is to review the signs and symptoms that you or your child’s dentist noticed that led you to schedule the appointment.

Your child may require early orthodontic treatment if your child has been experiencing any of the following:

  • Baby teeth that have been lost early.
  • Baby teeth that are late to erupt.
  • Difficulty biting and chewing.
  • Mouth breathing and snoring.
  • Thumb sucking after age five.
  • Protruding teeth.
  • Teeth that don’t bite together normally.
  • Shifting of the jaw to the right or left or a crossbite.
  • Crowded front teeth around age seven or eight.

When any of these signs are present, early orthodontic treatment for your child can help mitigate these concerns. In addition, corrections early on can help avoid the improper growth and alignment of your child’s permanent teeth.

What will the dentist look for during the first orthodontic treatment?

At your child’s first orthodontist visit, the dentist will check for the following:

  • Bite complications.
  • Malocclusion.
  • Narrow jaw.
  • Protruding teeth.

If any of these issues are identified, The Tooth Doc team will recommend Phase 1 treatment to address skeletal problems. For example, sometimes the upper or lower jaw grows too quickly or not quickly enough. This can cause alignment and crowding issues. During this phase, treatment will include an expansion or your child wearing a retainer or partial braces for nine to 18 months, though the time will vary depending on your child’s specific needs. After that, your child will wear their retainer and have regular checkups every four to six months until their permanent teeth are in. Then, if needed, they will begin Phase II care at a later date.

By following the guidance of your child’s dentist or orthodontist, you can help prevent serious orthodontic issues for your child.

Preparing for your kid’s first orthodontic treatment.

One of the best things you can do to help your child (and yourself) prepare for your kid’s first orthodontic treatment is to stay calm and positive. Of course, your child will feed off your behavior, so if you show fear or apprehension, the chances are that they will too. But, on the other hand, showing enthusiasm and confidence will help put your child at ease about the process.

Here are some additional tips that can further assist in helping you and your child be ready for that first orthodontic treatment.

1. Talk to your child about their concerns.

Have an open and honest discussion with your child and address any questions or concerns that they might have. If your child will be getting braces, be sure to talk to them about the differences between self-ligating braces and clear aligners. And if you don’t have the answers, assure them that the doctors at The Tooth Doc will.

2. Discuss treatment options with your child.

Make sure that your child has an idea of  the various possibilities to expect during their appointment. Familiarize them with the concepts of braces, retainers, and expanders so that these are not new concepts when the appointment comes around. This will also give them the opportunity to think of any questions of their own about these treatments.

3. Talk through what your child should expect before their braces are fitted.

Let your child know that the process to fit braces or an expander is a very straightforward procedure. Your child might be a bit anxious that having their braces or an expander fitted will be painful. Don’t deny that there might be some discomfort, but do ensure they understand that this will only last for a day or two. The doctors at The Tooth Doc are well-versed in providing comfortable dental and orthodontic care and will work to make the procedure as comfortable as possible.

4. Go on a shopping trip together for some soft foods.

For the first few days after your child’s first orthodontic treatment, they will want softer foods to eat. Not only will you want to have this food on hand before the appointment, but shopping for it together will include your child in the process and help them feel more confident about the experience. Soft foods such as rice, pasta, ice cream, yogurt, mashed potatoes, and soups will be nourishing and comfortable on the mouth. Chilled foods can also help soothe a sore mouth, especially if the brackets from the braces start to rub.

5. Order some fun orthodontic wax in advance.

If you had braces as a kid, you are probably used to that boring gray wax that used to be available. But now, orthodontic wax comes in a variety of fun colors. You can even get scented wax. So, either ask The Tooth Doc for some brand recommendations in advance, or head to the internet to do some searching together for some fun options.

What should we expect after my child’s first orthodontic treatment?

Your child might have some mild soreness in their mouth for the first few days after they receive braces. However, that initial discomfort should go away after five to seven days. At that point, their teeth will have acclimated to the braces. Eating and speaking will be easier, however, eating certain foods might still be a challenge. In general, your child should avoid the following foods for the duration of their braces and orthodontic treatment.

  • Chewing gum.
  • Corn chips.
  • Hard cookies or crackers.
  • Ice.
  • Nuts.
  • Popcorn.
  • Pretzels.
  • Sticky and hard candy.
  • Sticky or hard chocolate.
  • Taco shells.

Let The Tooth Doc Help with Your Child’s First Orthodontic Treatment

If your child is ready for their first orthodontic treatment in Omaha, The Tooth Doc can help. Request an appointment using our online form or give our office a call. We look forward to meeting you.