Is It Scary to Have Braces? 10 Biggest Pain Points for Patients

How to address your patients’ pain points successfully.

Are you thinking about adding orthodontics to your general or family dentistry practice? Expanding your services can be both rewarding and profitable, and helps you reach more patients in your local community. 

While this is a smart path to pursue, it’s important to realize that orthodontics can be a little intimidating for some people. While they may want a straighter and healthier smile, the thought of braces can be a pain point for many, and you might encounter some hesitation when you offer these treatments.

For instance, a common question on Google is “Is it scary to have braces?” As dentists practicing orthodontics, you can put these fears to rest by addressing the following pain points.

1. How to Keep Their Mouth Clean

When a patient first gets braces, they might wonder how to clean their teeth effectively. All of a sudden, they have brackets to brush around that weren’t there before. 

Gently remind them that they can get around these pain points and still optimize their oral health with braces, though they may need to be more dedicated to the effort than they were before. As long as they use a soft toothbrush and pay close attention to areas where food can get stuck, they can keep their smile clean and bright. 

You can also provide guidance on how to properly brush and floss, and recommend fluoride toothpastes and mouth rinses. 

2. What to Eat

One of the biggest pain points for patients is the worry about changes to their current diet. Will they need to cut out all of their favorite snacks? Will they be required to eat only soft foods for the duration of the treatment?

Explain that when they first get braces, they’ll need to learn how to chew a little differently, so it’s best to stick to foods with little to no texture. Yogurt, soft fruits, and cooked vegetables are ideal. After a few days, that initial sensitivity will improve and they can expand their selection.

3. What Not to Eat

You can also put their mind at ease on the pain points of what not to eat by explaining that most foods are still allowed with braces! While there are some items they’ll need to avoid to maintain their dental hygiene and keep their treatment intact, such as hard candy and popcorn, many of their favorite foods are still on the approved list.

The good news? The list of what they can’t eat is much shorter than what they can. Offer tooth-healthy snacks and alternatives that can help satisfy their snack cravings, such as swapping fresh fruit for dried fruit.

4. How to Handle Nighttime Teeth Grinding

Research shows that up to 10% of adults and 15% of children regularly grind their teeth at night. This condition is known as bruxism. It’s a very real pain point for new orthodontic patients who already suffer from this condition, and who may wonder how it will affect their braces. 

Though they may experience an uptick in teeth grinding immediately after treatment, this is usually linked to the initial irritation that can occur as their teeth begin to shift toward realignment. Over the long-term, braces may be able to improve their teeth grinding. As their teeth get straighter and their bite becomes better aligned, underlying jaw issues can improve. 

5. What to Do About Tooth Sensitivity

Some patients may worry that orthodontics will cause their teeth to become overly sensitive. While they may experience some discomfort after a routine adjustment, this irritation usually only lasts a day or so. Thanks to advancements in current orthodontics, these treatments are more comfortable than ever before. 

As long as they remove plaque from their teeth and keep their enamel healthy, their sensitivity levels should not increase. Usually, this issue only occurs as a result of improper brushing or inconsistent dental hygiene. By showing them how to properly brush and floss with their new braces, you can assuage this pain point. 

6. Concerns About Their Appearance

It’s natural for patients to express concern over how orthodontics will affect their appearance. After all, change can be intimidating, especially when it affects your reflection. 

Remind them of the reasons why they’re undergoing this treatment in the first place. The end result will be a stunning, healthy smile that can improve their confidence and overall quality of life. By focusing on the bigger picture, you can help them navigate these short-term worries.

If these particular pain points persist, then you can offer more inconspicuous treatments, such as clear orthodontic aligners or lingual braces. 

7. How to Afford Treatment

Orthodontic services will inherently cost more than routine, preventative treatments. For this reason, many patients resist getting braces (even though they know they need them), simply due to the financial aspect alone. 

In this case, you can point them to financing options available through your practice. This might include care credit, payment plans, and membership benefits, among other solutions. By making the treatment as affordable as possible, you can encourage more patients to pursue it. 

8. Finding a Dentist They Can Trust

An orthodontic treatment is a major undertaking. It requires a commitment of time, money, and dedication to maintain. As such, patients naturally want to make sure that they’re teaming with the best local dentist. 

Knowing who to trust for their treatment can feel nerve-wracking, especially if there are multiple practices in your community that all offer similar services. However, that isn’t an issue if they can receive orthodontic treatment from someone they already know—you!

In this case, you already know your patients, and you’re closely familiar with their dental history. They can trust you with their braces, because they already trust you for all of their other dental treatments. This is one big advantage of being a general or pediatric dentist who practices orthodontics. To learn more, check out this article

9. Navigating the Discomfort

Discomfort and braces don’t have to go hand-in-hand. Though your patients might worry about how the treatment will feel, you can put these pain points to rest by explaining their breadth of options. 

Today, there are many different treatment solutions, such as American Orthodontics braces, that are designed to be as comfortable as possible. Thoroughly detail how each treatment works, and what they can expect. 

Explain that while they may feel some initial discomfort immediately after receiving their braces and when their wires are tightened, the irritation is mild, short-lived, and easily treatable. 

10. Worries About Retaining

Your patients may also be concerned about retaining you as their trusted, go-to orthodontist. What if you change locations or leave the practice? By explaining your vision and goals for the future, you can help calm these concerns. 

At the same time, you may also worry that your orthodontic patients will leave your practice. Thankfully, there are actions you can take to maintain their confidence and trust. In this post, you’ll learn 10 potential reasons why patients leave a practice, and how to avoid them. 

We can help you address these common pain points and more.

An orthodontic treatment can be incredibly rewarding for a dental patient. Yet, it can also bring up many different types of anxieties and perceived pain points. Before your patients start asking, “Is it scary to have braces?”, it’s smart to prepare as much as possible. 

If you’re thinking about adding orthodontic services to your practice, then we’re here to help you get started. Through our courses, you’ll expand your technical and clinical knowledge, sharpen your skill set, and learn about tools and technologies that are shaping the future of orthodontics. Take a look at the upcoming programs and register today!

To learn more about our popular orthodontics courses for pediatric and general dentists, check out one of the upcoming events below.

March 1-2, 2024

AOS Event Center
1785 State Highway 26
Grapevine, Texas 76051

1st Session: March 8-10, 2024

AOS Event Center
1785 State Highway 26
Grapevine, Texas 76051

April 12-13, 2024

AOS Event Center
1785 State Highway 26
Grapevine, Texas 76051

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