- Remind Them to Wear Their Retainer: Ask any adult who has worn braces which piece of orthodontic advice they WISH they had adhered to, and overwhelmingly they'll say they wish they had worn their retainer more often. Without question, ensuring your kids wear their retainer as prescribed, and in every suggested situation, is the key to avoiding an early return to shifting teeth. And while some shifting is natural as kids grow into adulthood, for those who don't wear their retainer, that shift might come much, much sooner than desired, sometimes while they're still in their teens. That could mean a return to some form of orthodontic appliance, another round of braces or Invisalign, and quite likely, if they're still under your purse strings, another big bill. As a preferred provider for Invisalign, I can say the majority of cases I treat are for patients who have relapsed after traditional orthodontic treatment. While Invisalign is a fantastic solution for relapse, I would definitely recommend wearing your retainers the first time around!
- Teach Them Proper Brushing Technique: Most kids, and most adults for that matter, still have no idea how to brush properly. And that's a problem, because all that back and forth rapid-fire brushing is wearing away precious tooth enamel and gum tissue. Long-term, this sort of habit can lead to premature deterioration of tooth enamel, resulting in expenses to repair those teeth with bonding. Even worse: gum grafting procedures. Teach them to go soft, and in small circles. If necessary, repeat the instruction while with Becky, our dental hygienist.
- Promote Foods That are Good for Their Teeth: Certain kinds of foods help protect and remineralize teeth. And what's best isn't always what you'd think. Take cheese for example, who would have thought all that mac'n'cheese served a purpose? Good food keeps away decay, which keeps away fillings, which keeps more money in your pocket.
- Visit the Doc: It bears mentioning that maintaining regular visits to the dentist is important. Why? Because life gets away from us and sometimes we forget. Or, when kids are young, we just think it's not that necessary. By the time that first tooth comes in, though, they should already be visiting the dentist, and by the time they're seven, a quick consult about their orthodontic health is usually in order as well. Early orthodontic intervention can significantly reduce the cost and time spent in braces later on and regular visits always help to catch small problems before they become major ones.
- Keep Pushing the Water: We all know kids love their energy drinks. Their teeth, on the other hand, can't stand them, and decay and enamel wear tend to be the eventual result. So, put a wedge between decay and costly repair by ensuring your kids are drinking a lot of what mother nature has gifted us with: water. Water. Water. Water. It should be a mantra!
- Get a Mouthguard: The American Dental Association has said that 200,000 oral injuries to the mouth could be prevented each year simply by wearing a sports mouthguard. The cost of a custom guard is infinitesimal compared to the cost involved in repairing and or replacing several teeth. Get one today if you have a child who participates in sports. This can't be stressed enough. We will custom make your child's mouthguard at our Sioux Falls Dentist office and will even let them pick their color!
- Use Your Flexible Spending Account: Many parents waste away the money in flexible spending accounts. Don't do that. Usually, you can use your flex money on everything at our office, from teeth whitening to Invisalign. Cheryl can help you create a payment plan that utilizes all of your benefits. Remember: if you don't use them, you lose them!
This list could really be book-length, but these are some of the biggies. Follow them, and you'll win twice-over: good health and good finances.