Congratulations on your new braces! Life with braces can bring a few challenges. It may take a couple of weeks until you really feel comfortable but you will adjust to them. Below are some common issues patients have had as well as simple quick fixes. If these fixes don’t help, if something breaks, or you feel you are experiencing anything abnormal, then please do not hesitate to call our office to schedule a time so that we can make it better.
- Putting on your braces won’t hurt a bit! A few days afterwards (sometimes longer for adults), you can expect to experience some soreness. Specific symptoms may include tenderness while chewing and an overall achy mouth. These are normal symptoms. Each time you get your braces or appliance adjusted you may experience these symptoms again; fortunately, they will never be as severe or as long lasting as the first time! Try the following tips to help ease the soreness:
- Warm Salt Water Rinse: Mix about 1 tsp in 8oz of warm water, rinse vigorously, and spit. Repeat as needed.
- Apply Orabase or Oragel: This is a soothing gel that can be found at any pharmacy, or online here click here
- Over the Counter Pain Relievers: You can take Advil, Tylenol, or whatever you normally take for a headache. Be sure to follow the instructions on the bottle. Some people find that it’s effective to take a dose of the pain reliever about thirty minutes prior your next appointment.
- Eat Soft Foods: If you experience pain while chewing, try to replace hard foods with softer foods such as smoothies, stews, soups, potatoes, scrambled eggs, or even ice cream – you deserve it!
- If you suffer from canker sores or other mouth sores then you may experience them during treatment as well. Dental appliances such as braces are known to sometimes trigger the sores. Canker sores typically appear on the inside of your cheeks, lips, or on the sides of your tongue. They usually last about 7-10 days. To help you cope with the mouth sore while it lingers, try the following solutions others have found helpful:
- Orabase or Oragel. This is a soothing gel that you can apply. It can be found at any pharmacy, or click here to order from Amazon. Reapply the anesthetic as often as needed, and use a cotton swab to do so to avoid a possible infection.
Irritation of Lips and Cheeks
- Braces, or other orthodontic appliances, might feel awkward at first. It may even take up to a couple weeks to get used to them as the soft tissue lining of your mouth adjusts. It is best to just let your lips, cheeks, and tongue adapt naturally; however, if you are really struggling with irritation, you can try some of the following:
- Use Dental Wax: We will supply you with a package of wax on the day you get your braces. If you ever need more, just ask. To use, simply pinch off a small (quarter-inch) piece and roll it into a tiny ball between your fingers. Flatten the ball and squish it over the area of your braces or appliance that is right next to the irritation. This will act as cushion to protect the irritated spot. If the irritation persists, please contact us and we will inspect to see if we can adjust your braces or appliance to reduce any rubbing. Please note that if you accidentally swallow some of the wax it is perfectly harmless.
Food Caught Between Teeth and/or Behind Braces
- Getting a piece of food stuck between your teeth and braces is common; however, it can usually be fixed using some of the following methods:
- Swish with Water or Mouthwash: The simple act of swishing water or mouthwash around your mouth may be enough pressure to dislodge what was stuck.
- Floss: Before flossing, try tying a small, loose knot in the middle of a piece of floss.
- Interproximal Brush: This is a small toothbrush that we will provide you with. If you need another, just ask. You can also find them at your local pharmacy or online here.
A Color (or Clear) Tie is Missing
- A ligature tie is a small rubber band that stretches around each bracket to hold the wire in place. What to do if one is missing:
- Don’t worry! If just one is missing, we can replace it at your next visit.
- If you notice that more than one is missing, it’s best to call us so we can investigate further. Usually all this means is that you have been enjoying something a little too sticky. We can easily replace the ties, but want to figure out why they went missing.
What To Do If A Brace Comes Loose
- Braces can come loose when the bracket, which was previously bonded to the tooth, becomes un-glued. If this happens, don’t worry, but please do the following:
- First Call The Office: We would like to schedule a time to re-glue the bracket so that you do not fall behind in your treatment progress.
- Second Use Dental Wax To Prevent Any Irritation: Simply pinch off a small (quarter-inch) piece of wax and roll it into a small ball between your fingers. Flatten the ball and squish it over the loose bracket. This will temporarily hold it in place so that it does not bother you, but it is not a permanent solution. Please still call us to let us know.
- Third Save Any Pieces You Find: If any part of your braces comes loose and detaches from the wire, try to save it in zip-lock bag and bring it with you to your next visit. This will allow us to see exactly what broke.
One of the Wires is Loose and may be Poking My Cheek
- There can be two different types of wires in your mouth during your treatment. The normal force of biting and chewing can allow these wires to become slightly displaced. Here are some recommended fixes; however, if the problem persists, please call the office:
- Use a Qtip Or Pencil Eraser: Take something with a small soft tip, and use it to gently tuck the wire back to where it is comfortable.
- Use Dental Wax: If you can’t tuck the wire back into a comfortable place, then simply pinch off a small (quarter-inch) piece of wax and roll it into a small ball between your fingers. Flatten the ball and squish it over the poking wire. This will temporarily cover it so that it does not bother you, but it is not a permanent solution. We can fix it at your next appointment.
- Cut the wire with Nail Clippers: As a last resort, you can carefully clip the part of the wire that is irritating you. Always be sure to let us know if you had to cut a wire so that we can be sure to replace it properly next time and please exercise caution.
Playing Sports with Braces
- Just because you have braces or a retainer does not mean you can’t play your favorite sports! If you play any contact sports, be sure to tell someone on our team so we can get you properly equipped:
- Wear A Braces Friendly Mouthguard: If you are still in treatment, be sure to protect your mouth from any hits with a special mouth guard that can fit over top of your braces. We recommend a brand called Shock Doctor, which can be found at most sporting goods stores, or click here to find it on Amazon
- Get a Custom Made Mouthguard After Braces: Once your treatment is completed we can make you a custom molded mouthgard like the pros have! You can even design it yourself and decorate it with your team colors or even put your nickname right on it!