Orthodontic Work Can Stress Kids Out

close up picture of boy's mouth with new braces on teeth

So, the younger boys have needed some orthodontic treatment for quite a while. We bit the bullet a couple of months ago and had them evaluated. Each needed an appliance installed to straighten out their bite and avoid surgery in the future.

This has not been an easy process. Both boys were less than pleased about the prospect, even though we explained very carefully that the risks of NOT getting treatment were much greater than going through with it. They’ve been as cooperative as they could be overall, but there’s definitely been some tears and frustration.

The appliances were installed yesterday, so learning to speak around them and to eat without food getting stuck is still ongoing. Captain Earthquake informed me last night that he was starting to adjust (his appliance is less intrusive), while The Manager was still sad about it this morning. I expect that we’ll still have some down times for a while. Neither one of them has played outside in the cold weather yet and I’m betting that will be a bit rough.

Poor boys.

Yesterday before the appointment, the Captain in particular was very irritable and ready to pick a fight with the world. After the appointment, The Manager refused to eat or talk for several hours.

Rather than argue, I just let them be as much as possible. The Mercenary was around all day and it was difficult for him to leave them alone but we worked on it. He wanted to make sure eating was happening. I said that he’d get hungry sooner or later and to just let him alone. Sure enough, he ate dinner.

I offered to do a fun thing or two right after the appointment, but neither boy was in the mood to do anything but go home. So that’s what we did.

In general, when a child is freaking out over a situation of this magnitude, here are the important steps to take.

  • 1. Stay calm.
  • 2. Allow them space to vent their anxiety a bit.
  • 3. Try to respond with logic and reassurance, but keep talking/arguing to a minimum.
  • 4. Offer fun tasks as distractions; be ready for him/her to say no.
  • 5. Have quiet activities in a safe place (home) planned to allow for emotional recovery.

One of the best things you can do is just be there. Last night we watched four television shows all snuggled on the couch together, then sent the boys to bed. If rotting their brains out in front of the boob tube helps, then do it. They’ll settle faster and recover better from the stress.

What do you do when your kids are stressed?

Earnest Parenting: help for parents of stressed kids.

Image courtesy of kindagetmego via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.

The editor-in-chief of Earnest Parenting, Amy is the mother of two sets of twin boys. Yes, they drive her crazy, but they also make her laugh occasionally. Amy enjoys writing, quilting, reading, and working on her burgeoning cyber empire.

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  • Yena February 18, 2012, 10:23 pm

    Basically having some teeth alignment correction and cleaning. Orthodontics consultation is a bit expensive specially if you would require some braces to keep your teeth fall into it’s proper alignment. I just don’t have any idea if how much they asked for the kids but probably it’s not yet on my budget.

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  • Orthodontist Williamson County February 24, 2015, 3:02 am

    All those tips will work well with this kind of situation. Allowing them to vent or rant their anxiety will be really useful to make them feel at ease.
    Orthodontist Williamson County´s last blog post ..What Is Your Smile Worth To You?

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  • Jack white June 12, 2015, 3:58 pm

    I like the idea of trying to do activities that will distract them. When my kid got braces he was so fussy and would not stop picking at his braces. We decided to get him a new game, and it worked pretty well. Now, I am not saying you should spoil him but it will help them get there minds of the new feeling.

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  • bryan flake July 6, 2015, 7:44 pm

    My son needs braces soon. He has always been the anxious one when it comes to dental visits. I just know that he is going to be upset when he finds out he needs the braces for sure. These five steps are really simple and clear for helping kids deal with a lengthy medical ordeal. Having your teeth moved about doesn’t seem fun. However, I do appreciate the tips on helping us make a smooth transition with our son’s braces.

    Reply
  • Kenneth Gladman April 13, 2016, 6:06 pm

    I agree it can be good for kids to vent their anxiety. My son really doesn’t like going and getting his braces adjusted. The whole ride over is listening to him vent for me. By the time we get there I reassure him that I’ll be right by his side and we can usually get the appointment done.

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