Nearly 30% of American orthodontic patients today are adults. That’s why it’s increasingly common to have mothers wearing braces. Even though the attitude towards braces is changing, there are still a few challenges that specifically apply to them. Let’s take a look at what they are.
1. Your kid might not be okay with it
Children – especially pubescents – are very sensitive. And their peers can be rather cruel. Your child may understand why you need braces but be aware that it’s possible they’re having to defend you to their friends. Talk to your child about why you need braces at your age. And explain how much they’re going to help you.
2. The school run
You know what most school runs tend to hold for parents? Judgement from other parents. Be prepared for questions like, “Oh, but don’t you think it’s selfish to get braces when your focus should be on your kids?” or “How brave of you to get them…at your age.” Meeting your child’s teachers might also make you feel a little self conscious. But braces can be amazingly discreet these days. (Check out our article ‘The Best Braces For People Who Hate Wearing Them.)
3. Finding the time to look after them
Braces do require a certain amount of maintenance. Cleaning and flossing are just the start. Chances are you need to avoid specific foods (difficult for busy mothers used to finishing off their children’s leftovers). You’ll also have to schedule regular orthodontists’ visits. (That’s why it’s really important to have a trusted orthodontist close to you. Click here to find one in your neighbourhood.)
If you are a mother to a toddler or young child, you’re probably used to a few knocks here and there. You know, waving arms hitting your face. Tiny feet clambering over you during the 10 minute nap you’re trying to snatch. Curious tiny hands grabbing at your nose, your mouth, your eyes – and not very gently either.
Braces can make your mouth area very sensitive so if you have a small, energetic kid, it’s a good idea to be careful about letting their hands come in contact with your face – at least for the first few days.
5. Judgement from strangers
Remember that scene from Friends where Ross was visiting his paediatrician because he didn’t feel comfortable seeing another doctor? It ended with him feeling embarrassed for being there because he was judged by another parent and her kid. Don’t expect anything as drastic but make peace with the fact that people are going to assume you’re at the optometrist’s on behalf of your kid. And maybe give you a strange look once they know you’re not. (Speaking of the optometrist, you can click here if you need to find one close to you.)
6. Judgement from yourself
You know what all moms are really good at? Guilt. Often, it’s making their kids feel it. But the person moms are always hardest on is themselves. We’re betting you’re no different. You will, at some point, ask yourself questions like – Is it really necessary? Should the money go on the kids instead? Am I being selfish? Is it stupid that I care what I look like after three children? Argh. Ugh. Help. Listen, you’re going to be fine. They’re just braces. And they’re going to do you a heck of a lot of good.