Brushing and Braces
It’s more important than ever to brush and floss regularly during orthodontic treatment so teeth and gums remain healthy after orthodontic treatment. Patients may find it advantageous to schedule frequent visits to their general dentist for a professional cleaning.
Patients who have a history of gum disease should also see a periodontist during orthodontic treatment.
When the orthodontic appliances are placed, there may be a feeling of general soreness in the mouth, and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for a few days. This can be improved by rinsing with a warm saltwater mouthwash. Dissolve one teaspoon of salt in 8 oz. of warm water and rinse vigorously. If the tenderness is severe, take whatever is normally taken for headaches or similar pains. The lips, cheeks, and tongue may also become irritated as they become accustomed to the surface of the braces. Wax can be placed on the brackets to lessen irritation. After the appliances are placed, we can provide instructions in proper appliance care and tooth brushing.
Loosening of Teeth
This is to be expected throughout treatment. Teeth must loosen so they can be moved.
Loose Wire or Band
Don’t be alarmed if a wire or bracket comes loose. This happens occasionally. If a wire protrudes and is irritating, use a blunt instrument (back of spoon) and carefully push the irritating wire under the arch wire. If irritation to the lips or mouth continues, place wax or wet cotton on the wire to reduce the annoyance. Callus as soon as possible for an appointment to check and repair the appliances. If any piece comes off, save it and bring it with you to the office.
Braces & Sports
If sports are played, it’s important to consult Dr. Rose or Dr. Malik to learn about the special precautions needed while playing sports during orthodontic treatment. A protective mouth guard specifically designed for use with orthodontic appliances must be used while playing contact sports. Discuss sports activity with Dr. Cochran and they will select the appropriate mouth guard. In case of any accident involving the face, check the mouth and the appliances immediately. If teeth are loosened or the appliances damaged, call at once for an appointment. In the meantime, treat any discomfort as any general soreness would be treated.
True orthodontic emergencies are very rare, but we can help when they do occur. If there is severe pain or if there is a painful appliance problem that can’t be taken care of by the patient or parent, call us to schedule an appointment. When describing the appliance, it is helpful to know the names of the orthodontic appliance parts to explain what may be broken or out of place. It is very important you call as soon as possible to schedule a time to assess the problem.
Allowing the appliance to remain damaged for an extended period of time may result in disruptions to the treatment plan. Ask us to demonstrate how to handle minor orthodontic appliance problems. Many times, a bit of wax can be placed in an area of discomfort to provide temporary relief. The following solutions may help relieve discomfort:
Using a pencil eraser, push the poking wire down or place wax on it to reduce the discomfort. Wax can be applied on the braces to help reduce mouth irritation. Ask Donna, Karen, Maria, or Randa to demonstrate how to apply the wax and how to handle minor orthodontic appliance problems. You may also call the office to schedule an appointment to resolve the poking wire issue.
Loose Bracket or Band
If the bracket or band is still attached to the wire, leave it in place and put wax on it. If the wire comes out entirely, wrap the bracket with a tissue and notify the office right away.
Using tweezers or a small pair of needle-nose pliers, try to place the wire back into place. If doing this and using wax does not help, as a last resort use a small fingernail clipper to clip the wire behind the last tooth to which the wire is securely fastened. If discomfort continues, place wax on it, and call the office to schedule a repair appointment.
Contact Dr. Cochran DDS, MS, in San Antonio, Texas, for more details about our orthodontic appliance care and their impact on your life.