Bonding over Braces? How does that statement translate to helping our teenagers and pre-teens feel good about themselves and the world they live in? If it is not the Ellen show, Dr. Phil or just the local newspaper; it seems that accounts of young people being bullied is a daily occurrence. This should be of concern to us all, as our young people are either learning to treat others as their punching bags, or they are being taught that they are the punching bag. At what point do we, adults, speak out and step up to steer pre-teens and teens to a different mindset?
So how does this lead in wearing wearing braces? Well it's been proven that having a smile that you are proud of boosts self esteem dramatically and contributes to overall health and wellness. Now, this theory can be applied to both the bullied and the bullies. Psychological reports tell us that individuals who choose to bully others often feel inadequate about themselves. And having a smile that causes embarrassment to the individual, can be the catalyst to lash out at others, or be the target for taunts.
Often it is later in life, when an individual may have fixed their crooked teeth, that they can reflect back on how their crooked smile imputed their life growing up. Adult Orthodontic patients will make reference to feeling inadequate, never smiling in photos, not wanting to date and yes, being called names and excluded from peer activities. Not really the way we want our young people to experience their youth.
Orthodontic treatment has never been more available, affordable or efficient. Gone are the days of wearing 'train tracks' and having to hide a 'metal mouth'. Today's orthodontic technology allows practically invisible options and treatment times that have literally shaved a third of traditional appointment requirements. This is a huge advantage to parents who bring their children to orthodontic appointments – less appointments means more time to do other things.
But what today's orthodontic options offer is an opportunity for a young person to feel good about themselves. To be able to refer to their peers and even offer support to a friend who is also going through orthodontic treatment. Orthodontics are always available to individuals of all ages, but studies show that moving teeth at the right age brings a better treatment result and an easier treatment course. And the right age is prior to adulthood, the right age is when your teenager is hiding from the world and not smiling, the right age is now so that there are more days of smiling than of feeling inadequate.