If you’ve damaged your teeth braces, you might not need to schedule an appointment with one of our orthodontists. Many issues that come up during orthodontic treatment can be resolved at home with wax, tweezers, and nail clippers.
Continue reading to learn how to resolve tooth pain, cheek irritation,, and more. Our desk staff is also available to answer any questions you might have between appointments.
1.) Tooth Pain after Adjustments
During the course of your orthodontic treatment, we’ll make slight adjustments to your braces to ensure your teeth and jaws move into optimal alignment. Since dental braces exert pressure on your teeth, you will feel slight pain or discomfort several hours after your appointment with us.
We recommend taking over-the-counter pain relievers (like ibuprofen) right before your appointment. That way, the pain reliever has a chance to work before we tighten your braces. It may also be a good idea to eat soft foods after your appointment, such as mashed potatoes or pasta.
2.) Irritated Lips and Cheeks
After getting braces for the first time, we’ll give you some wax in case the brackets irritate your lips and cheeks. Simply pinch off a pea-sized glob of wax before squishing it between your fingers. Next, gently push the wax on top of the offending bracket. Many of our patients use the Relief Wax before meals to avoid irritating the soft tissue in their mouths. Since the wax isn’t medicated, it’s harmless if accidently swallowed.
3.) Loose or Missing Elastic Ties
During orthodontic treatment, you’ll need to avoid sticky foods like caramel. Otherwise, the small elastic ties that hold the arch wire in place can come loose or fall completely off their brackets. Our recommend using tweezers to put elastic ties back.
4.) Loose Brackets
If you play contact sports, let your dentist know so they can create a protective mouth guard. A mouth guard for braces forms a protective layer around your teeth so you won’t need emergency dental care the next time you’re tackled on the football field. A bracket can also come loose after biting into hard foods, like whole apples and carrots.
Most patients don’t realize that a bracket is loose until they go to brush their teeth and notice that the bracket is off-center on the tooth. A loose bracket may also not be noticeable right away if you have ceramic braces, which are tooth-colored.
If a bracket comes loose between appointments, you’ll need to schedule an appointment with one of our orthodontists. In the meantime, use tweezers to slide the bracket into its proper place. Next, you’ll need to gently push the bracket back against the tooth.
5.) Protruding Wires
If you have a wire protruding off the end of your last bracket, use a small keychain nail clipper to trim the excess. We recommend using a folded tissue to isolate the piece of wire from your gums before trimming. If the excess wire isn’t long enough to trim, place a pea-sized glob of wax between the wire and your cheek.