Throughout your treatment journey, you will have regular appointments with both your orthodontist and your dentist. This will ensure your treatment progresses as planned and your appliances remain in a good condition. However, sometimes problems can occur with your appliance between treatment sessions and the following information will help you deal with minor orthodontic issues at home.
It is common and normal to experience some soreness during orthodontic treatment. The discomfort will vary from patient to patient and can last three to four days after an adjustment. To alleviate discomfort, we recommend that patients eat softer foods and rinse the mouth with warm salt water to soothe the discomfort. Pain killers will also help.
Your braces and some other orthodontic appliances can sometimes irritate the inside of the cheeks and lips, especially during the first few days. A sore spot may develop due to the brackets, arch wires or tubes pressing against the cheeks and lips. To support the healing process, place orthodontic relief wax on the part of your braces that is causing the sore spot.
Orthodontic relief wax is used to cover loose or broken parts of your braces, hooks, newly placed brackets, and other orthodontic appliances that may cause soft tissue irritation or sore spots. Take a small piece of wax, about the size of a pea, shape it into a ball with your fingers and apply the wax directly to the part of the braces causing the sore spot. Press it around the part and smooth it with your fingers. Wax is harmless and can be applied to your braces as often as needed.
NOTE: If you happen to run out of wax, Babybel cheese red wax can temporarily serve as a good alternative. Though not recommended for consumption, the wax meets Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements for food-safety and accidental ingestion is not harmful.
Rinsing your mouth with a cup of warm water and teaspoon of salt can also have a soothing effect.
Orthodontic appliances can be damaged when a patient sustains injury to the face or mouth. Call for an appointment if the teeth feel loose or if the appliance is broken. We can offer a mouthguard to protect your teeth and appliances during contact sports.
Please do not be alarmed if teeth feel loose during treatment. Teeth need to be slightly mobile before they can move into their new positions.
Elastic wear can cause sore teeth when you begin to wear them (approx. the first 3-4 days). Once the teeth begin to move, this soreness will go away. Continue to wear the elastics during this initial period of soreness and take pain killers if necessary. Do not continue wearing elastics if you are unsure how they should be worn. Call us during practice hours and we will let you know how to wear your elastics.
The end of a wire might work itself out of place (especially when the span of wire is across an extraction site) and cause irritation. If this happens, use a clean pencil eraser to push the wire so that it is flat against the tooth. Alternatively, use clean tweezers to guide the wire back in the tube. If the wire cannot be moved into a comfortable position, cover it with relief wax. If the wire is extremely bothersome, you may snip the wire. This should be the last resort and only the first (initial) wires can be cut due to their flexibility. Use a pair of sharp nail clippers and snip off the protruding wire. Relief wax may still be needed to provide comfort to the irritated area. Call us during practice hours to arrange an appointment.
Call us during practice hours and arrange a repair appointment. In the meantime, if the loose bracket irritates your gums or cheeks, place wax over the area. You can put the bracket back in place- use sterile tweezers and slide the bracket along the wire until it is between the two teeth. If the bracket has moved, you can rotate it and slide it back to the centre of the tooth. Remember loose appliances can trap plaque, therefore it is important to brush the area around loose appliances.
Call us during practice hours and arrange an appointment to have missing or broken ties replaced. If the tie is missing or broken, the tooth can drift away from the arch wire. If a wire ligature end digs into the lip, it may be bent back and tucked round the bracket with a pencil eraser or Q-tip.
Gaps may appear between teeth during your treatment, this is quite normal during the alignment (straightening stage). Be reassured all the gaps will be closed by the end of the treatment.
It is very important to keep your teeth and gums free of plaque and food debris during orthodontic treatment. Regular dental check-ups and hygiene visits are equally important. Poor oral hygiene may result in swollen and bleeding gums. Gentle but thorough brushing, rinsing with warm salt water and mouthwash will help.
Your braces are designed to move your teeth. However, undesired tooth movement can occur when parts of your braces are broken or damaged, your wires are bent or you missed you last scheduled adjustment appointment. If this is the case, please call the practice to arrange an appointment.