When your kids graduated from braces, they were excited to show off their beautiful smile. Now, however, you worry that they will lose their straightened teeth due to their refusal to wear their retainer. Kids tend to avoid wearing retainers for multiple reasons including plain old forgetfulness along with worries about looking weird in front of their friends. Since the retainer phase is an important part of your kid’s treatment, use these strategies to help them overcome their hesitance to wear their appliance so that they’ll be able to enjoy a beautiful smile for a lifetime.
Post a Reminder
Oh, how quickly a kid can forget that their former teeth alignment made it hard to eat comfortably or smile with confidence. Print out a picture of your child’s old smile along with their new one, and post it in a place they will see it every day such as their bathroom mirror. Having a visual reminder of how their teeth could shift back will have them reaching for their retainer.
Get a Cool Retainer
Depending upon your child’s treatment plan, it may be possible to have a retainer made in a kid-friendly style. Today, many retainers are available in different colored plastics or with images printed into the mouthpiece. Having a retainer that shows off their personality helps turn wearing one into an opportunity for your kid to show off how cool their new appliance is to their friends.
Create a Routine
Once your child is required to wear their retainer at night only, it is possible that they simply forget about it by the end of the day. Help them remember by making it a part of their bedtime routine. For example, you could have them place their retainer near their pajamas or on top of their pillow. This way, they cannot miss it when it is time to go to sleep.
Practice Wearing the Retainer
It can sometimes take a little while for a kid to learn how to speak normally with a retainer or they may worry about how they look in front of their friends. Spend a weekend letting them practice speaking and getting used to their appearance while wearing a retainer before they wear it to school. Allowing them to be fully comfortable with their new appliance will ensure that they can wear it to school with confidence.
Set Up a Reward System
Sure, a perfect smile should be its own reward, but kids can be shortsighted and not realize that wearing their retainer preserves their straightened teeth for the future. Therefore, setting up a system where your child receives a reward after wearing their retainer for a certain amount of time is a great way to motivate them to change their behavior.
Consider a Permanent Retainer
When you have tried everything, your child may be eligible for a permanent retainer that involves a simple wire placed on the back of their teeth. While some parents worry about hygiene, regular visits to the dentist will keep the retainer area clean and prevent decay. It is also important for everyone to know that, once a kid matures, these retainers can be removed much like when their braces were removed.
During the final phase of your kid’s orthodontic treatment, getting them to wear their retainer is often frustrating. Yet, finding out the reasons for their refusal to comply with their treatment plan will help you address their concerns. By giving your son or daughter a few reminders and making wearing a retainer more comfortable, you will quickly get them on board with maintaining their new smile.