Gamifying Orthodontic Care: Making Braces Fun for Kids

When sisters, 15-year-old Alora and 13-year-old Anastasia, embarked on their respective journeys at Swihart Orthodontics, their friendly competition added a fun twist. At the heart of this story is a gentle rivalry over who would be braces-free first. “There was definitely a bit of competition on who’s going to get their braces off first and whose smile would look better,” Alora shared.

Dashing Alora’s hopes, Anastasia triumphed, her braces coming off first. Despite the competitive edge, both sisters agree that the journey enriched their relationship, and they both emerged with beautiful smiles.

A Parent’s Guide to Gamification

Gamification involves applying game-like elements, such as scoring, competition, and rewards, to non-game activities to increase engagement and motivation. It can be applied to anything, like chores, work tasks, or even self-improvement. Parents can transform orthodontic treatment into an engaging game to make it so braces are fun and interactive for children and teens…or more tolerable, at least. Here are some creative ways, besides stoking a sibling war, to gamify the orthodontic experience:

  • Color planning: Grab a calendar and plot ligature colors according to holidays or other occasions, making it a fun, creative decision and giving kiddos something to look forward to.
  • Brushing and flossing scoreboard: Create a weekly chart to track brushing and flossing habits. Award points for consistency and thoroughness, with small rewards for reaching certain milestones.
  • Ortho-bingo: Design a bingo card with different orthodontic care tasks like, “Wear your rubber bands for 24 hours straight,” “Eat a braces-friendly snack,” or “No broken brackets this month.” Completing a row could earn them a prize.
  • Photo journal: Motivate kids to document their smile’s progress with selfies after each appointment, turning their transformation into a memorable timeline. Display the pictures somewhere that your child can see them regularly.
  • App-tastic adventures: Utilize apps like BracesHelp and Dental Care HD to make dental hygiene educational and fun. These apps offer interactive guides and timers for brushing and flossing, making daily dental care a more engaging activity. 

Celebrating Shared Smiles

Despite the playful rivalry, Alora and Anastasia’s orthodontic journey was a shared experience that brought them closer, proving that a little competition can lead to a lot of support and camaraderie. “I was a little upset when she came home with her braces off first,” Alora reflects, “but they looked great, and it made me more excited to get mine off.”

Braces Are Fun: Begin Your Adventure

At Swihart Orthodontics, we’re dedicated to making every orthodontic journey a positive, engaging experience. Whether your child is going through treatment alone or with a sibling-rival, we’re here to support them every step of the way. Book a consultation today to learn more or get started!

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