Though braces are safe and generally involve little discomfort, there are instances when issues may arise. This page includes some information that can be useful if any of these situations occur.
Food Caught Between Teeth
While not an emergency, this can cause discomfort or embarrassment for the patient. A small knot in a piece of dental floss can help to remove food stuck between teeth and braces. Other options that may be effective include a small dental toothbrush or toothpick.
Ligatures include both the small rubber bands and the fine wires that are used with braces. If a rubber band comes off, it should be able to be put back in place using sterile tweezers. For a loose wire, use sterile tweezers to remove it. If a wire ligature is broken or missing, follow up with the orthodontist.
Discomfort for the first day or two following adjustment is normal. It can be helpful during that time to eat only soft foods and to rinse with warm salt water.
Some patients may have recurring issues with mouth sores. Though these are not caused by the braces, the braces may irritate the sores, making them more painful and take longer to heal. Generally, pain relief can be achieved using a topical anesthetic, such as Ora-Gel.
Lip or Cheek Irritation
New braces may cause irritation to the lips and cheeks, especially while eating. Non-medicinal relief wax can be used in tiny amounts to cover the part of the braces that is causing the irritation, providing relief. This wax is harmless if accidentally swallowed.
If a wire end is out of place, it can cause irritation to the mouth. Use a pencil eraser or cotton swab to gently push the wire back into place, if possible. Relief wax can also be used to protect the mouth. If the protrusion is severe and the patient cannot get to the orthodontist soon, clip the wire as a last resort.
If a bracket has become loose, notify the orthodontist immediately for how to proceed.
A Piece of the Appliance is Swallowed
Though highly rare, it is possible for this to occur. Contact the orthodontist immediately for instructions on how to handle this situation.