Life doesn’t always go smoothly. If you or your child experience a dental emergency, or are simply having trouble with an orthodontic appliance, we’re ready to help. In the meantime, many simple problems with braces and other equipment can be easily fixed at home. At the very least, you can try to make yourself comfortable until you’re able to make it into our office for a professional fix. Here are a few common problems that our patients have, and how you can troubleshoot them:
It’s common for your teeth and mouth to feel sore for a few days after having your braces put on. You might feel tenderness when you bite or chew as well. Switching to soft foods during this period can help keep the irritation to a minimum. If that’s not enough, a soothing mouthwash can be used several times a day. You can make your own mouth rinse by mixing one teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water, or you can buy one in the store. Take a sip of the mixture and rinse it vigorously around your mouth when you are feeling sore. If the pain continues and is severe, you could consider taking Tylenol.
Most pain with headgear is due to improper adjustment, so make sure that you thoroughly understand your dentist’s instructions about how to wear and use headgear. In addition, headgear gradually becomes more comfortable when worn for longer periods of time. The reason many users experience discomfort is because they are not wearing their headgear as often as prescribed.
Irritation from the appliance
Appliances can become loose or have edges that rub and irritate specific areas of the mouth. If there is one part of your appliance that is causing irritation, you can apply soft dental wax to that part of the appliance. The wax will create a smooth coat over the appliance and help to soothe your sore mouth.
If a bracket is very loose, is about to fall off, or has already come off, place it in a clean plastic bag or envelope and bring it to your next appointment. If a bracket is only slightly loose, you can leave it in place and watch it carefully. If the loose bracket rubs on or irritates, your mouth, you can apply dental wax to it as described above.
The sharp ends of loose wires can be very irritating. Using tweezers or very small, needle-nosed pliers, you can grab the end of the loose wire and gently push it back into place. Dental wax may help keep the loose wire under control. If the sharp end of the wire is very irritating and you are unable to quickly arrange an appointment with your dentist, you can clip the loose wire off using fingernail clippers, but this should only be done as a last resort.
If loose wires cannot be put back in place with tweezers and continue to poke and cause irritation, they can be pushed firmly back toward your teeth. Use the soft head of a pencil eraser so that you don’t scrape the enamel of your teeth. Once the sharp wire is pushed back out of the way, apply some dental wax to its tip to prevent further injury.