Minor Troubles and Suggestions

Peace begins with a smile.

Fortunately, the vast majority of orthodontic problems are minor, but they may still cause discomfort or concern. You’ll find that you can usually soothe the cause of the discomfort, and then call us for guidance. We are always happy to assist you, so never hesitate to call us with your concerns. These are a few of the most common orthodontic problems we’ve seen, along with our tips on what you can do to relieve them at home.

General Tooth Pain or Loosening

It’s normal for your teeth to become slightly loosened during orthodontic treatment that shows they’re moving! This movement may be accompanied by tenderness, especially after the braces go on or are adjusted. For minor soreness, you can use your regular over-the-counter pain reliever. You’ll find that eating soft foods for a few days will be helpful. While some people notice relief with cold foods and drinks, others find relief with a warm washcloth or heating pad placed on the outside of their face. See what works best for you!


Irritated Gums and Sore Spots

It may take a little time for your mouth to adjust to the orthodontic appliances you just received. This tenderness is perfectly normal and should resolve in a couple of weeks as your lips, cheeks and tongue become used to your braces. If you’re experiencing irritated gums or other sore spots, rinsing with warm salt water may help. Simply mix one teaspoon of salt in an 8-ounce glass of warm water, and rinse for 30 seconds 2-4 times a day (do not swallow the water). You may also try using a small amount of wax on the brace or wire that’s irritating you to ease the discomfort. If you need some wax, please let us know. Some patients find that using Orabase oral pain reliever in the affected area is helpful. Orabase can be found in any pharmacy. Remember, with time, your mouth will adjust to the appliances. Be sure to continue with your regular brushing and flossing routine to promote healing.

Loose or Broken Brackets

This problem is often caused by eating hard or sticky food, or by playing with your braces. If your band or bracket is still attached to the wire, just leave it as is and don’t connect any elastics to it. You may cover it with orthodontic wax if it’s irritating the inside of your mouth. If it has come off, please save it and bring it to our office with you. Your teeth and jaws can only move into their ideal positions if you consistently wear and take care of your orthodontic appliances. If your appliance is broken, be sure to call our office so we can determine the next step!

Poking Wire, Bracket or Tie

As your teeth start to move, the wire that connects them may begin poking near the back of your mouth or irritating your cheeks. You can try moving the wire into a more comfortable position with a pencil eraser or a cotton swab. You may also cover the irritating wire or bracket with a small amount of wax. If the wire is making sore areas in your mouth, try warm salt water rinses (one teaspoon of salt dissolved in 8 ounces of warm water) 3-4 times per day. Please feel free to call our office for further guidance.

Smile…happy looks good on you!