Most of the time braces work properly and stay in place. But sometimes problems happen such as loose brackets and broken wires. What do you do if you have a problem with your braces?
The first step should be to call your orthodontist and explain the issue. You will most likely need to make an appointment to come in and have the problem fixed. In the meantime, there are some things you can do to minimize your discomfort until your appointment. If the problem occurs outside of your orthodontist’s business hours, you may need some advice on what to do until you can call in.
Here are some common problems with braces and how to fix them.
It is common to experience pain in your teeth and jaw-related to braces. As your braces push and pull your teeth around in your mouth, it will cause some pain from time to time. The worst of the pain is usually in the first few days after you get your braces put on. You may also have a day or two of discomfort after each visit to your orthodontist to have your braces adjusted.
This pain can usually be managed using over the counter pain medication such as Tylenol or ibuprofen. Take it as directed until the pain subsides and eat a softer diet. You should feel better within a few days.
The metal parts of your braces can irritate the soft tissues of your mouth, such as the inside of your cheeks and lips and sometimes even your tongue. This is normal at first and usually goes away as your mouth gets used to the braces.
For the initial irritation, it can help to use orthodontic wax over your brackets to block the metal from rubbing against your cheeks, lips, and tongue when you eat and talk. We gave you some wax in your initial kit, but you can usually find some at a drugstore if necessary. You can also treat the sore spots with topical oral pain relievers, such as Orajel. Another cure for the sores in your mouth is to swish with warm salt water (one teaspoon of salt dissolved in 8 ounces of lukewarm water).
It is common for a bracket to pop off of a tooth now and then. Cement is used to attach them to the front of your teeth, but it is only so strong. Sometimes a bracket will break off of a tooth from eating hard candy, chewing ice, or biting into an apple (all things that are advised against while wearing braces). Other times it may come off on its own even if you are following all of the rules.
If the bracket is still attached to the archwire, leave it in place until you can get to the orthodontist. If it comes off completely, save the bracket and bring it to your appointment. It is usually not a major emergency but calls us so we can decide if we should make a new appointment to replace it or wait for your next visit.
A loose band can occur from chewing on something sticky or hard, or grinding your teeth. One can also fall off due to regular wear and tear or a breakdown of the cement holding it in place.
If one of the bands from around a molar comes loose you can push it back down. If it falls off completely just keep it in a baggie. Either way, you need to call your orthodontist and make an appointment to have it replaced.
It happens often; you’re between appointments and suddenly there’s a wire that’s poking you where it wasn’t before. This can happen as a result of the teeth shifting or from eating something that bent a wire.
You can cover it with wax. You could also attempt to bend the wire back into place using a pencil eraser. If you are unable to fix it in a way that will do until your next scheduled appointment, call and make a new appointment to have it corrected. You don’t have to suffer the irritation of a poking wire for weeks until your regular appointment.
Tips from Andover Orthodontics
At Andover Orthodontics, we want your experience with braces to be as comfortable as possible. We recommend the above tips to help you troubleshoot any problems you may have. Your first days in braces can be especially difficult, but it doesn’t take long at all to get used to them. Your pain and irritation will lessen with each day.