One of the most important parts of our job is to educate our patients about the appliances we use during orthodontic treatment. Knowing how to care for braces is so critical because it has a direct effect on your treatment time and results.
From time to time, you might experience a minor problem with your braces that causes discomfort. Usually, you’ll be able to deal with these orthodontic “emergencies” on your own with things you have around your house or supplies we will give you.
In case you do have a problem, we have outlined some of the most common issues our patients have with their braces, and have provided solutions that will ease discomfort, prevent injury and keep your mouth healthy!
Loose band, bracket or appliance
This is one of the most frequent problems patients have. Bands and brackets often become loose because of something you’ve chewed or eaten but may also be loose as a result of changes in your bite that happen between adjustments.
If the bracket or band is still attached to the wire, just leave it in place and put orthodontic wax on it if it’s irritating your mouth. If a piece comes out completely, hang onto it and bring it with you to your next appointment.
Loose or poking wire
If a flexible wire is loose, try first to move it back in place with clean tweezers. If that doesn’t work, you can clip the wire with clean fingernail clippers behind the last tooth to which it is securely fastened. If you are unable to clip it and it is causing discomfort, try a rolled-up piece of wax placed on it, this can usually alleviate the poking.
Tooth tenderness or soreness
You will likely experience soreness from time to time as the teeth slowly move into place. This is a good thing and means the teeth are moving! Soreness or tenderness is especially common after an adjustment. Tylenol or Ibuprofen are usually enough to alleviate discomfort. If one tooth suddenly becomes very painful, call us immediately.
Saltwater rinses are great for irritated gums and other sore spots. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in eight ounces of warm water and rinse your mouth vigorously.
Broken or lost colour tie or power chain
This is generally not uncomfortable. Let us know at your next appointment, and we will replace it at your adjustment.
Notify us as soon as possible if:
- You experience a blow to the teeth, face or mouth, especially if teeth feel loose or are knocked out.
- You have sudden, severe pain or discomfort.
- You encounter any orthodontic problem you can’t handle on your own.
If a concern arises that you cannot handle at home, call us to schedule an appointment. Already have an appointment scheduled? Call us to make sure we allow enough time to address this.
True orthodontic emergencies are rare, but we want your treatment to be as comfortable and effective as possible.
It’s important to care for your teeth and appliances as instructed. Keep plenty of orthodontic supplies on hand and, as always, call us any time we can be of help!