Exploring Oral Health Symptoms, Issues and Solutions

5 Common Issues With Braces and Retainers and What to Do If They Happen

In the long term, braces can help to improve your smile, but in the short term, you may experience various issues with your braces in between appointments. Here's a look at some common issues and some tips for dealing with them.

1. Broken Wire

When you have braces, metal wires stretch between brackets that have been affixed to your teeth. The wires pull your teeth into the desired spots, and to encourage this process, you get the wires tightened on a regular basis.

However, if a wire has slipped out of its bracket, you may be wondering what to do. First, try to use the rubber of a pencil to gently prod the wire back into place. You may also want to add a dab of wax to the wire so that it doesn't scratch you.

If the wire refuses to move or if it continues to scratch and irritate you, you may want to cut it. Use a small nail clippers to cut the wire as close to the bracket as you can, and be very careful not to swallow the wire during this process.

2. Loose Bracket

Unfortunately, if a bracket is loose, there's not much you can do about it. The good news is that if it's still secured to the wires, it's unlikely to fall off and get swallowed. However, you may want to make an appointment with your orthodontist as soon as possible so that he or she can repair it.

3. Sticky Food Stuck on Braces

Ideally, you should stay away from really sticky foods and candies whilst you have braces. However, that's easier said than done. If you've got sticky goo attached to your braces, try to remove it by flossing around the area.

Also try rinsing and using an electric toothbrush. The fast rotation of an electric toothbrush can be more effective than a regular toothbrush on its own.

4. Cuts on Tongue or Cheeks

If you are getting persistent cuts on your lips or the insides of your cheeks, try to figure out which part of your braces is causing that issue. Then, add wax to that part of your braces. You may also want to rinse with warm saltwater. That helps to promote healing and prevent infections.

5. Lost Retainer

Sometimes, after the orthodontist removes your braces, you may have a removable retainer. If this gets lost, contact your orthodontist immediately to order a new one. Ideally, you should have loss coverage on your retainer so that you can get a free or low cost replacement if you lose yours.