If you’re having a problem with your braces, contact your orthodontist to ask whether you should come in promptly for a visit, or if the issue can wait till your next appointment. Some problems can impede treatment and should be fixed without delay, while others are just a nuisance. Of course, if you or your child is experiencing serious pain, your orthodontist will want to address that right away.
Whether you’re going into the office ASAP for an emergency appointment or waiting till your next regularly scheduled appointment, there are ways of troubleshooting common problems with braces at home until you’re seen. These can sometimes completely remedy the issue, or they can at least tide you over until your appointment.
So, here’s a quick guide to troubleshooting common problems with braces using things you have on hand at home. And if you don’t have something mentioned here, everything is readily available at most drug stores.
Problem: Sore Teeth
Some soreness is to be expected with new braces and following adjustments when the braces are tightened. Often, applying some light pressure with a wrapped ice pack for about 10 minutes will do the trick. Other cold interventions can help too, like drinking some ice-cold water or eating ice cream. Alternatively, some people find swishing around warm salt water to be soothing. An over-the-counter pain medication also helps. Here’s a little more information about dealing with sore teeth from braces.
Problem: Mouth Irritation and/or Sores
Irritation and sores can result from brackets or wires rubbing or poking the inside of your mouth. A topical anesthetic should help with the pain. Use a small bit of orthodontic wax over the bracket or wire that’s causing the trouble to prevent continuing irritation.
Problem: Dislocated Wire
The wires in your braces are important to your treatment, so if they dislocate, make sure you let your orthodontist know. Sometimes, the ends come loose and you can feel them poking. This can lead to the previous problem mentioned. Until you can see your orthodontist, use a cotton-tipped swab to push the wire flat against your teeth. Putting a small amount of orthodontic wax over it will help hold it in place and prevent irritation.
Problem: Loose or Broken Bracket
Brackets, like wires, are obviously an important part of your braces and treatment. So again, contact your orthodontist if you have an issue with one or more of them. If a bracket comes loose or breaks, use a little piece of orthodontic wax to secure it in place until your appointment.
Problem: An O-Ring Falls Out
O-rings are the small rubber rings that attach the archwire to the brackets. If one falls out and you have it, try to reattach it using a pair of clean tweezers. If you can’t, or if you don’t know what happened to the o-ring, your orthodontist will need to fix it.