5 Things No One Tells You About Braces for Teens

 Today, we’re talking parenting tips for teenagers with braces!

Learn all the things no one told you about having braces, how to help your teen care for them, and more!

Let’s get started!

Today, we’re talking parenting tips for teenagers with braces! Learn all the things no one told you about having braces, how to help your teen care for them, and more! Let’s get started!

 Ah, braces. Everyone is quick to tell you how much they cost (a lot!), but no one prepares you for all the little things that go into parenting teenagers with braces.

Let me share with you my teen’s braces story.  He actually begged for them! Can you believe that?  I guess it is a new trend in the teen era, a trend that I don’t understand. When I was a teen, we dreaded the moment that the dentist suggested that.

Anyway, I ignored his begging and followed the dentist guidelines.  It’s not like my son was asking for a set of new Legos. He was asking for braces that cost between $6,000 and $8,000! Anyways, the dentist didn’t recommend installing them for a long time. Then, one day he noticed that his teeth needed them. While it was a cheerful day for my son, it was not for me.

Braces cost a lot of money and we don’t have any insurance that covers them.

Aside from the money aspect, there are a lot of things that no one told me about braces. Check them out now so they don’t surprise you later!

Parenting Tips for Teenagers: Things Nobody told me about braces

1. Finding the right specialist to install them is not an easy task

Depending on where you live and what type of insurance you have, finding the right specialist to install braces can be a real challenge. It took me many phone calls, emails, and research to find an orthodontist for my teenager. To start, I asked my dentist for recommendations. He gave me some, but those specialists had a LONG WAITING list. I’m talking months!  I had to research one on my own. I asked parents, neighbors, etc. until I finally found one.

If your insurance DOES happen to cover braces, don’t think getting to a specialist will be any easier! Depending on your insurance, you may only be able to visit one specific orthodontist in your area. It’s not uncommon to wait at least a month or more to get your first visit.

2. The specialist often charges a fee for a consultation

You know how most lawyers, mechanics, and other professionals offer free consultations because they’re hoping to get your business? Well, don’t expect orthodontists to do the same thing! Unless you live in an area that is positively flooded with orthodontists, most of them already have more business than they can handle, so they don’t give out “freebies” to entice you to come in.

I respect their time and job, but I was kind of ticked by that. If you are lucky, though, they can deduct that consultation fee from your future bill. Fees range from $80 to $100. Some of them allow you to bring your child x-rays and some of them don’t. For those who don’t, you also need to pay an extra fee for those x-rays.

3. Specialists work from 8 to 5 pm.

I had to resolve the following issues. My son had school from 8 to 4 pm. He was home by 5 and sometimes by 6 (if he had extracurricular activities) but most orthodontists are only open until 5PM. This makes it challenging for kids who don’t want to miss school and parents who work day jobs that don’t allow them to take much time off.

If I didn’t want my son to miss a lot of school, I had to find a specialist that was:

  • Within walking distance from school.
  • Was open during lunch hours

That narrowed down the search quite a bit! I finally found one after a lot of searching. If you work at a job that doesn’t allow much flexibility or simply can’t afford to take a day off, you’ll want to do a little extra searching and try to find one of the rare orthodontists that have evening or Saturday hours.

4. Change in diet for my teenager

I knew that my son would have restrictions on his diet with his braces…I just didn’t realize how much it would have to change! Here are a few examples of changes to expect:

  • He was no longer allowed to chew gum or eat any gummy candies. I was happy about that!
  • He was no longer allowed to eat an apple unless it is sliced. The same goes for pears and other “tough” fruits.
  • Granola bars, energy bars and other snacks like that were completely off the menu.
  • Make sure to have soups for the first days because your child won’t be able to eat solids.

►►For more ways their diets will change, check out 5 Foods to Avoid with Braces!

5. Brushing routine became longer and tedious

While the recommended brushing time stayed at 2 minutes. It took longer than that with the braces. My son has to use dental floss. Believe me it is a nightmare flossing your teeth with braces on. I had to help him for the first days and it took us almost 30 minutes to do it.

It becomes easier with practice and I no longer help him. I spot check his brushing though (even if he does not like it). Parenting teenagers is not easy.

These are just the things that go into getting the braces on and getting used to life with them. Another thing to keep in mind: adjustments. I’m not talking about all of the adjustments they’ll have to make to their diet and brushing routine, I’m talking about literal adjustments to the braces themselves.

Don’t think that you’ll go to the orthodontist, get braces put on, and go back in 3-5 years to get them off. In addition to routine checkups with a dentist, your teen will have to regularly visit the orthodontist to make sure the braces are doing their job and get them adjusted as they straighten the teeth. This can range from uncomfortable to downright painful for your teen.

I recommend giving them ibuprofen about a half an hour before the appointment (if it’s okay with their doctor, of course).

These things no one tells you about braces sound a bit scary, but don’t let them keep you from making that appointment. The benefits of braces far outweigh the downsides of them. 

Did one of your family members get braces? Did you go through all this? Tell me and share with me your parenting tips for teenagers. 



19 thoughts on “5 Things No One Tells You About Braces for Teens”

  1. I’m a teen myself. 18 years old. I had a small gap in my upper teeth. I wore my retainer first before the braces for 8 months. And the wore braces for 1 year. Now again wearing the retainer for 1 and half years. My teeth are much better now. Now my orthodontist told me I don’t need to wear them anymore. Is to safe for me? He said that my teeth a ew completely fine now .and they’re gonna remaining the same!

  2. My 13 year old son is getting braces on Thursday. His consult was free and his total bill is $4000. His orthodontist charges less if the time needed is less than average. He’s needing them for 18 months. Insurance is covering half.

  3. Actually,People with braces can have gum but it has to be sugar free. Most orthodontists have a free consultation. Brushing is a little harder because you have to brush at an angle. Use a water pick/water flosser to make sure you don’t get floss stuck in your brackets. Any SOFT food is recommended for the first few days. I know all this from experience because I’m a teenager with braces.

    1. ibuprofen is not recommended by most dentist because it hardens your gums, making it harder for your teeth to move. Aleve is recommended.

    2. I got my braces on October 10th and I love them. I get them ajused on December 23 and I changing the color the same day as I get them ajusted

  4. Thanks for the tips .. My son got them on 9-17-18. He’s been drinkings lots of fluids and soups are excellent for him at this time. Funny but he also drinks Pedialyte and applesauce through a straw . Pretty soon my youngest daughter will get them as well .. Like my daughter says “beauty is pain” Good luck to all the people with braces ?

  5. All the orthodontists in my area offer a free consultation. I saw a few before I decided on the one that was right for us. Also, my son is allowed to eat all those foods. The only no-nos are popcorn and sticky candy – like taffy.

  6. Our dentist told us, except for extreme situations, avoid braces at all costs. Throughout life your teeth constantly shift, wait as long as you can and save your money for college tuition. I am 59 years old and finally gave in and got braces on my bottom teeth, they were needed 30 years ago for slight shifting. I woke up one morning and tasted blood, my bottom tooth was rubbing on my inside lip and the time finally came. I paid $1800.00 including a retainer, it is estimated that I will wear them 12-18 months and after that a permanent retainer will be put in place to avoid all shifting. He had to install metal braces, as opposed to Invisalign due to the damage. I use a water pik to floss and it works wonders, I still floss (ugh) it takes a lot of time, but it will be worth it.

  7. This was a nice article although this isn’t the same for everyone my kid had braces and it was not near as expensive as 6000 and he was aloud to eat those foods with his braces

  8. I got my top braces yesterday it was supposed to be a consultation but they said I was ready lauded me down and put the on and it didn’t hurt I went right out and my family took us to DQ

  9. Great things to consider when my kids are ready for braces. My oldest will be getting braces in 2-3 years. Great article.

  10. Our daughter had braces for 4+ years. I can totally relate. They are super expensive, the monthly office visits are time consuming and it’s no fun for the child who has to wear them.

    My daughter’s mouth was in horrible shape. Her mouth is much better now but over the past couple of years her teeth have started to shift again. Ugh!

    Our son needs braces, but his is minor. We’re hoping we can avoid them because they really don’t look that bad (just two teeth are a little “off”).

    These are great tips.

  11. This is great information for those who have teens getting braces. Thanks for sharing. It is important to research so you know what you are getting into I think.

  12. These are RIGHT on–as the Mom of two kids that have had braces put on and taken off-let me add to your list that they MUST -did I say MUST–yes I did–they MUST wear the retainers or guess what????? You got it their teeth MOVE

    Yep after spending all that time, money etc etc now the teeth are moving and guess what else–you have to purchase a new retainer because the old one doesn’t fit. UGH!! needless to say I was much more on top of this issue with my 2nd –so be aware!

  13. Excellent article. Just found out my middle child needs to see an orthodontist. You mentioned things I never even considered, especially the consultation fees. Thanks.

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