Help Your Teen Wear A Retainer: Ideas For Parents
When you experience the free feeling that comes after your braces are removed, it can be tempting for teens to skip wearing their retainers as the dentist recommends. However, wearing a retainer has just as much of an effect on the overall look of your teen's smile as the braces did. If your teen is struggling with the temptation to abandon wearing their retainer, here are some idea that can help you convince them to stick with it:
1. Get it adjusted.
Many teens skip wearing the retainer because they complain about the pain. Wearing a retainer can be uncomfortable from time to time, but it should not cause the same discomfort that braces did. Remember, retainers are there to help keep the teeth in place -- braces were functioning to actually move the teeth. If wearing the retainer is too uncomfortable, it's time to talk to the dentist about adjusting it.
There is an exception. If your teen forgets or neglects their retainer, even for a day, putting it back in will cause a lot of discomfort, and even pain. This is because, even in that short time, the teeth will have started to regress back to where they were before your son or daughter got braces. Only wearing the retainer and pushing through the pain with Tylenol or similar pain relievers will help bring things back to normal.
2. Charge money.
It might seem strange to some parents to charge teens with "fines" if they don't wear their retainer, but because braces are a significant investment, teens may have to see the financial ramifications of not wearing the retainer. If your teen continues to neglect the appliance, it will soon be like he or she never wore braces at all. It would be a waste of time and money. To show you are serious about the retainer, you might hold your child accountable for a portion of the cost if they are not diligent about following the advice of the orthodontist.
3. Get help.
Every teen will have a friend say that retainers are not needed. Maybe this friend had braces before and chose not to wear the retainer. Friends' advice holds a lot of weight with teens, so you'll need some ammunition of your own. Speak with relatives who have had braces to get some combating evidence. Find pictures online of people's mouths before and after wearing (or not wearing) the retainer.
Contact a local general dentistry office in your area for more information and assistance.