Wearing braces is good for your teeth and your health, but minor problems can arise and it’s good to be prepared if they do.
At M. Scott Runnels Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics in Destin and Panama City Beach, we help patients select the braces that are right for them. Contact Dr. Runnels today to learn more or to make an appointment.
Here are some tips from the American Association of Orthodontists for students with braces, their parents and teachers:
Food Between Your Teeth
This can be a little uncomfortable and embarrassing for children who wear braces, but the problem can be fixed easily with dental floss. Creating a knot in the middle of the floss should help remove food caught in your teeth. Also, you can use a toothpick to remove food particles from teeth or your braces.
Lost Wires or Ligatures
The small rubber bands or wires, known as ligatures, hold wires and brackets. If you lose your ligature, let an adult know as soon as possible, so an orthodontist can advise them whether he or she needs to see the patient.
When Ligatures Come Off
If rubber ligatures come off, you can put them back in place with sterile tweezers. If a wire ligature loosens, use sterile tweezers to remove it. If wire ligatures are sticking into the lip, but are not loose, you can bend it back down with a Q-tip or pencil eraser to ease irritation. Broken or missing ligatures should prompt a call to your orthodontist.
It’s not unusual for patients to feel uncomfortable for a day or two after retainers or braces are adjusted, and eating may be difficult. This discomfort is normal – but it’s temporary. It’s best to stick with soft foods.
Sores In The Mouth
Some patients can suffer from occasional mouth sores. While braces are not the cause of sores, the sores may be irritated by braces. To ease discomfort, place a small amount of topical products, Orabase or Ora-Gel for example, directly on the affected area with a cotton swab.
New braces can occasionally irritate the mouth, often when the patient is eating. Use a bit of non-medicinal relief wax to create a buffer area between metal and mouth. Pinch a small piece and roll it so it’s about the size of a pea. Then flatten the ball and place it where braces are causing irritation. The wax is not harmful, and there is no cause for alarm if it’s accidentally swallowed.
Wires, Bands and Brackets
If braces loosen in any way, call your orthodontist to determine appropriate treatment.
Brackets are the parts of the braces that attach to teeth with adhesive. They typically are in the center of each tooth. Brackets can be knocked off when the patient eats hard or crunchy foods, which patients should avoid, or if the mouth is struck while during play or participating in sports. Patients with braces should wear protective mouth guards if they play sports.
If brackets are off center, it’s likely the adhesive has failed. If this is the case, call your orthodontist immediately.