Are you having trouble with your braces?

Many dental problems can be temporarily solved by the patient until they schedule their next dentist appointment with our office. When working with your dental appliances, learn the correct dental terms so you can identify what part is broken or out of place.

Please check out this handout for more troubleshooting advice: Handling Orthodontic Emergencies.

After alleviating your discomfort, you can still call our office as soon as possible to schedule a time to repair the problem. Allowing your appliance to remain damaged for an extended period of time may result in disruptions in your treatment plan.

General Discomfort or Soreness

When you first get your braces, you may notice that your teeth and mouth feel a little tender or sore. This is perfectly normal for patients who have just gotten their braces put on.

  • Warm salt water rinses may help reduce discomfort
  • Use Orabase numbing gel for ulcers that may develop (they heal in 5-8 days)
  • Take Tylenol or Advil for aching periods after braces are placed or after an adjustment

Loose Band or Bracket

Brackets are the parts of braces attached to teeth with a special adhesive. They are generally positioned in the center of each tooth. The bracket can be knocked off if you eat hard or crunchy foods you’ve been instructed to avoid, or if the mouth is struck while you’re playing sports.

  • If the bracket is off center, the adhesive may have failed.
  • If the loose bracket has rotated on the wire and is sticking out, you can do a temporary fix to alleviate discomfort and prevent further damage. To put the bracket back in place, use sterile tweezers to slide the bracket along the wire until it is between two teeth. Rotate the bracket back to the proper position, then slide it back to the center of the tooth.
  • Use wax to avoid soreness. If a bracket is loose and is not attached to the wire, bring it to the next visit.
  • Call the office during business hours to have the braces repaired. The doctor may or may not have you come in before your next visit depending on where it is in the mouth and at what stage of treatment you are in. However, contact us regardless so that we can adjust the length of your next appointment, if needed.

Poking Wires

  • If a wire is poking, try to bend it with a sturdy object such as a spoon or an eraser.
  • Cover the wire with wax to avoid soreness.
  • Call the office during business hours to have the wire adjusted.

Disconnected Ligatures

  • Tiny rubber bands or small, fine wires known as “ligatures” hold the wire to the bracket.
  • If a ligature comes off, you may be able to put it back on using sterile tweezers.
  • If a ligature comes loose, simply remove it with sterile tweezers.
  • If the wire ligature is sticking out into the lip but is not loose, it may be bent back down with a pencil eraser to eliminate irritation.

Lost Tie or Colored Elastic

Unless this causes a wire to start poking, this can wait until your next orthodontist visit.

Loose Teeth

If your teeth begin feeling a little loose, don’t worry; this is normal! Your braces must first loosen your teeth in order to move them into the right position. Once your teeth have been repositioned, they will no longer be loose.

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