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Beating the Braces Bullies

Nov 17, 2023

Beating the Braces Bullies

HERE AT QUEENSWAY WE UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF FEELING CONFIDENT, PARTICULARLY FOR OUR YOUNGER PATIENTS. HAVING A NEW, STRAIGHT SMILE CAN REALLY BOOST YOUR SELF ESTEEM BUT THE JOURNEY THERE ISN’T ALWAYS PLAIN SAILING. 

 

November 13th marks the start of UK Anti-Bullying Week. We know that, ridiculous as it is, some children will be the subject of bullying that focuses on their teeth or braces, so we wanted to provide some support, information and advice in the eventuality that this happens to you or your child.

SMILE, SMILE, SMILE. 

One of the most important factors when you’re the victim of bullying is to try to maintain a positive mental attitude. For a number of years, we’ve teamed up with children’s charity Kidscape, and we created a Guide To Feeling Confident alongside them, which you can download here. Some of the tips we heard from real kids included: “Always wear your smile: when you smile you feel happier within yourself.” We can’t stress just how much this helps. If you smile, you in turn feel better, and it also reduces your chances of attracting the attention of bullies who tend to home in on people who look unsure or unhappy already. 

MAKE A CHANGE.

Unfortunately, some people, particularly kids, can be pretty cruel about crooked teeth. Seeking orthodontic treatment is something you should only do because YOU want to but the option is there, so if you’re feeling under confident about your smile, book a free consultation with us and we can have a chat. Equally, if you’re concerned about being teased for wearing braces, there are virtually invisible options available too, such as Invisalign. There are also Invisalign options for kids and teens.

GET A TEAM.

Surround yourself with people who love and care for you. If that’s not happening at school, reach out and join groups outside of school – maybe a drama group, scouts or a basketball team – because having friends outside education is a healthy reminder that it’s not you that’s the problem; it’s the bullies. Call friends you know are supportive. Talk to relatives who you know love you. And when times are tough do a little roll call in your head of all those people who are on your team and will always cheer you on.

FIND A BRACES ROLE MODEL.

You see all those people out there with shiny, perfect teeth? They probably weren’t born with them, you know! If you don’t know anyone personally who went through a braces journey and now looks confident and sparkly, look some up! Emma Watson, Justin Bieber, both tennis-playing Williams sisters, Katy Perry, Tyra Banks… Heck, even Marilyn Manson sported braces for his buck teeth at one point. Next time someone makes a mean comment about your teeth, your braces or your retainer, tell them you’re just like Emma Watson (or Marilyn Manson if you really want to see them off!)

GET SOME GOOD COMEBACKS.

If bullies do strike, have a witty retort ready. You could go simple with a “Really? That’s the best you’ve got?” Or we always favour a slightly pitying “Well, yes, my teeth are pretty crooked, but once I’ve finished treatment they’ll look great!” Sadly for you, you’ll always be an idiot.”

AND SOME ADVICE FOR PARENTS.

Remember that many children won’t experience any negativity at all about their braces, especially now orthodontic treatment is so much more common. Anecdotally, children tend to be teased more before treatment rather than during it, so remind yourself that you’re taking them on a positive journey. 

Keep a watch out for any changes in your child’s behaviour, and if necessary talk to their tutor or head of year if you have any concerns. Make sure you’re available if your child wants to talk about things and take their worries seriously; telling them not to worry or just to ignore it might risk them feeling you don’t care, so be sure to tell them that you understand why they feel hurt or scared and that you will help them to find a solution and back them up. 

Finally, don’t forget that all things must pass, and they will get through any difficult times. 

FINALLY, FOCUS ON YOUR GOOD STUFF.

OK, so your teeth aren’t perfect. Firstly, they will be one day! Secondly, your teeth aren’t ALL of you. Having a great smile is to make YOU feel great, not to please other people, anyway. When you look in the mirror, remind yourself of some of the things you are brilliant at. It might be maths or science. It might be that you’re a great friend. Perhaps you’re a baking guru or have a talent for making others laugh. Those are the things that make you you and won’t change. Reminding yourself of them regularly will send you out of the door feeling confident and others will feel that confidence radiating from you, too. 

We asked some of our young Queensway patients what confidence meant to them. Hopefully some of their answers will inspire you, too.

“Confidence to me is the ability to feel beautiful without needing someone to tell you. There is no such thing as a perfect person. I like imperfections, that is what makes us unique.”

 

IZZY, FIXED BRACE PATIENT

“Confidence is being able to speak up in big groups and to stand up for yourself and others.”

HARRY, INVISALIGN PATIENT

“I’ll soon have the confidence to smile with my friends and when I have my photo taken, thanks to my braces from Queensway.”

ADAM, CERAMIC FIXED PATIENT

“Confidence to me is being confident in myself and my appearance – being able to finally smile freely.”

RUBY, INVISALIGN PATIENT

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