Some minor problems can occur during orthodontic treatment ranging from sore teeth and swollen gums to bent wires and broken brackets. You can avoid most of the problems associated with broken brackets and bent wires by following the above guidelines for proper eating. 
We have listed some common problems and what you can do to avoid an extra trip to the office. 

Poking Wire, Poking Post, or a Lip or Cheek Irritation: 


  • Dry the part of the brace that is poking or irritating and cover it with a flat, quarter size piece of silicone wax (in your braces bag) or purchase Mac's Ear Plug Wax at your drug store, tear off a piece of that wax and do the above. You can use wet cotton in place of the wax. Call the office and arrange for us to clip the wire or adjust the irritating brace part. 
    *Sometimes a light memory shape wire will come out of the last brace and poke. The wire is very flexible. Use a tweezer and flashlight, to reinsert the wire back into the "small tube" where the wire was displaced.

  • Ulcers: 
    If you are prone to ulcers, braces will bring them out. All ulcer care medicines are palliative since there is no effective cure. Excellent oral hygiene is essential. Zilactin and oral "bandage" types of products like "Soothe and Seal" cover the ulcer but do not heal it.

  • Sore Teeth: 
    Take 1-2 Advil or Motrin before your visit and continue taking 1-2 of these medicines every 8 hours for a day. Tylenol and Aspirin are not as effective in reducing the discomfort of sore teeth. Teeth that are moving will also be sensitive to cold. Limit cold drinks and desserts until several days after an office visit. Go to our Soothing Recipes section for some ideas for softer meals or visit for Damon braces friendly recipes as well.

  • Herbst Appliance Irritations: 
    The initial adjustment to a Herbst Appliance may take several weeks. Use Advil as noted above for sore teeth. Put moist cotton on the sides of the Herbst to pad where the cheeks may get irritated. Use wax also to cover dried parts of the Herbst. Be sure all food is cut or blended so it doesn't need to be chewed. Eventually you will adjust to the Herbst and can resume regular eating.

  • Swollen and or Bleeding Gums: 
    This is the result of poor oral hygiene. Refer to our instructions on ortho hygiene and proper brushing and flossing. You may need to purchase the Oral B electric brush and a Waterpik if you haven't done that yet. Also the use of PerioMed is essential since this is a prescribed anti-microbial rinse our office can provide. Flossing and use of the Opal Pix is also essential to clean the gum areas. Gly Oxide used daily for no more than 5 days can also help reduce irritated, bleeding gums.

  • Loose Bracket: 
    Call the office to arrange for an appointment to replace the loose bracket. Until that appointment, stop the use of your elastics. Cover the loose bracket with wax if it is irritating.

  • Loose Bonded Retainer: 
    Call the office to arrange for an appointment to recement the retainer wire. Wear your clear retainer day and night until we can see you. The clear retainer will prevent the tooth from moving.

Other Dental Emergencies: 
If some other type of dental emergency such as a laceration, jaw bone fracture, or a severely fractured tooth or tooth displaced from its normal position, then contact us, or your dentist, or a hospital emergency room as soon as possible. Let us, or a dentist, reposition displaced teeth. Displaced teeth often need to be stabilized by braces and wires or surgical arch bars. A root canal may also be needed soon after the trauma. When playing any contact sport or baseball or ice hockey, be sure you have been given a mouth guard by our office and then wear it during play.