How to Manage Common Orthodontic Problems at Home

Helpful Videos

This video shows you how to manage a poking wire at home by yourself: Taking Care of a Poking Wire at Home

This video guides you on how to deal with a loose/broken bracket at home by yourself: Taking Care of a Loose/Broken Bracket at Home

Soreness

It is completely normal to experience soreness upon first receiving your braces. Over-the-counter pain relievers should help manage this. Some studies show that ibuprofen (i.e. Advil/Motrin) may slow down the tooth movement process so we recommend trying acetaminophen (i.e. Tylenol) first. However, some patients do not respond well to acetaminophen and we would rather have the patient be comfortable and have the teeth move slowly rather than the patient be uncomfortable. It is perfectly acceptable for these patients to take ibuprofen as needed. This soreness will quickly fade, but you may use a salt water rinse to help with the discomfort. Dissolve one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of lukewarm – not hot – water. Rinse your mouth with the solution and gargle for a few minutes, but avoid swallowing.

You may also notice soreness or tenderness in your tongue, lips, or cheeks for the first couple of weeks as your soft tissues rub against the brackets and wires. Using wax on your braces/wires can reduce this tenderness. Wax is included in the introductory kit we provided you with during your bonding appointment. If you run out of wax, you can find some in most pharmacies or you can ask us for more during your next appointment. You may also use a warm salt water rinse to help with the discomfort. Dissolve one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of lukewarm – not hot – water. Rinse your mouth with the solution and gargle for a few minutes, but avoid swallowing. Repeat several times a day as needed.

Loose Teeth

Many people experience a sensation of loose teeth when they first get braces. This is to be expected. In order to adjust your teeth to the proper position, your braces must first loosen them. This feeling will dissipate on its own, but you can call us at Smileworks Orthodontics for any concerns.

Loose Wires or Bands

Accidents and certain foods can cause the wires, bands, or brackets of your braces to come loose. This is why it is imperative to follow the eating instructions that were provided during your bonding appointment. However, accidents sometimes happen. If a bracket becomes loose and it is not bothering the patient, you do not need to take any action at all. Simply notify us at your next visit and we will do what is best for the long term treatment plan for the patient (please note this often involves not repairing the loose bracket at the next visit and scheduling the repair for a future date). If a piece of your braces has completely broken off, bring it into our office with you at your next appointment. If the loose bracket is bothering the patient, you can watch the video linked at the top of this page to learn how to manage this at home.

If a wire pops out of place, you can use the eraser end of a pencil to push the wire back into place gently. If the loose wire is irritating your cheeks or lips, use a moistened cotton ball or wax over the end of the broken wire to help. If a wire comes out of the very last tube/brace, you can try to reinsert it yourself using a pair of tweezers.

Please let us know as soon as possible if you are experiencing any problems with your braces or appliances. We are here to help! You can reach us at (703) 383-0090.