Common Problems During Orthodontic Treatment
Linda J. Krebs, DDS, PhD
Adjusting to braces and other orthodontic treatment
So now that you’re in orthodontic treatment, your mouth may feel very different. You’re smiling different, speaking different, brushing different, and eating different. It’s a whole new world to adjust to. After a few weeks or so, you will begin to feel more comfortable with your braces. However, there will still be times when, seemingly out of the blue, your teeth hurt or your gums get sore. Also, after your monthly adjustments, your teeth might hurt for a few days, or up to a week if so, treat it how you would a headache and stick to softer and or colder foods. You also may often bite the insides of your cheeks when you’re getting used to your braces. Fortunately, this heals quickly (in about a week) and builds up some scar tissue, which is less sensitive. If you’re having more than mild discomfort or have any questions, please give our office a call.
Invisalign and Clear Aligners:
Canker sores and pokey wires:
During orthodontic treatment flexible wires may slip out of the bracket slots or band tubes of the back teeth. This may be avoided by eating the appropriate foods your orthodontist recommends. If the wire comes out of the tube, try placing the wire back in the tube using tweezers. Also, the wire may appear to have “grown or feel longer”. You might feel like the end of the wire is poking you. Call us and we will be happy to trim the wire for you. Occasionally, metal ties are used to secure the archwire to the brackets or bands. Sometimes during eating or brushing, this metal tie can accidentally be redirected and start to cause irritation to your lips or cheeks. You can try to push the poky wire back into place by using the eraser end of a pencil or placing wax over these area until you are able to be seen. The lips, cheeks and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can put wax on the braces to lessen this and rinse with salt water if needed.
All brackets are fixed to the teeth, so if you notice that any of them are able to “slide, wiggle, spin, or move” along the wire, it means that you have a broken bracket. If a bracket comes loose, but is not bothering you, please call our office to let us know. We will make sure we have adequate time at your next regular appointment to repair it. If a loose bracket is irritating or bothering you, let us know right away and will we get you into to our office to alleviate the irritation. We may need to bring you back in the future to repair the broken bracket.
Loose orthodontic bands:
Just like the brackets, orthodontic bands are fixed to your molars. You may have 2-8 or more of these bands hugging your teeth. If you notice that they’re able to “bounce, twist, or move”, then you my friend have a broken band. Please call us as soon as you notice this so we can fix your bands and get you back on track. If you’re wearing elastics that attach to hooks on a broken band, please discontinue wearing them until you have had the band repaired. Also, in the case of a band being attached to an appliance, please call us right away.
Issues with orthodontic appliances:
If you’re a patient wearing an orthodontic appliance, you too are at risk for breakage if you don’t follow the proper guidelines while wearing your appliance.
–Retainers should be worn as directed by the doctor, cleaned, and kept in the retainer case when you’re not wearing them. If your retainer is not fitting as it should be or if you lost it please call us right away to prevent any movement!
–Expanders can be fixed to the teeth or attached to a removable retainer and both should be turned as prescribed by the doctor. If you’re having trouble doing you turns, if your fixed expander has become loose, or if your removable expander broke, make sure to call us right away! It’s extreamly rare that a fixed expander becomes loose, so please make sure your not pulling on it with your fingers, tongue, or playing with it.
–Headgear can come in a few different styles. If you wear headgear and notice that it’s not fitting, bent, broken, or you’ve run out of elastics, call our office and we can help.
To successfully complete the treatment plan, the patient must work together with the orthodontist. The teeth and jaw can only move toward their connected positions if the patient consistently wears the rubber bands, headgear or other appliances as prescribed. The patient must also care for the appliances as instructed. Damaged appliances lengthen the treatment time.
Foods to avoid:
- Chewy foods: bagels, hard rolls, licorice
- Crunchy foods: popcorn, ice, chips
- Sticky foods: caramels, gum, taffy
- Hard foods: nuts, candy, granola
- Foods you have to bite into: corn on the cob, apples, carrots
Chewing on hard things (for example, pens, pencils or fingernails) can be damaging to the braces. Damaged braces will cause treatment to take longer. If you think it might break a bracket, try to make it smaller, softer, or just avoid it completely
If you play sports, it’s important that you consult us for special precautions. A protective mouth guard is advised for playing contact sports (do not boil and bite). In case of any accident involving the face, check your mouth and the appliances immediately. If teeth are loosened or the appliance is damaged, call us right away! In the meantime, treat your discomfort as your would treat any general soreness.
Your smile - Our passion - Your life.
Come meet us and you’ll see how we provide personal orthodontic care, utilizing the most up to date and aesthetic techniques to create beautiful smiles and healthy bites.