Five Common Braces Problems That You Can Relieve At Home

Braces will give you a straight, beautiful smile when properly maintained and kept in good repair. Yet, no matter how careful you are problems can arise. Knowing what to do can help you avoid discomfort.

1. Mouth Ulcers

Mouth ulcers refer to any type of sore that develops on your cheeks, tongue, or gums. These are usually a result of friction and are more common with traditional braces, compared to invisible orthodontics. If you have ulcers, rinse your mouth with warm salt water to clean the woods. You can use a dental numbing gel, available at any pharmacy, to relieve the pain. If the ulcer persists, you may need to have your braces adjusted or you may need to switch to tray style invisible braces.

2. Irritation

Irritation doesn't always cause ulcers or sores to form, sometimes it only leads to a raw area and pain. Much like ulcers, irritation typically occurs where the braces rub against your cheek or gums. If you can't get into the orthodontist for an adjustment, there is relief at home. Begin by swishing warm salt water in your mouth to begin pain relief and to clean any wound sites. Then, get a small ball of dental wax and roll it in your fingers to soften. Smooth the wax over the part of your braces that are causing the irritation.  Reapply the wax as needed.

3. Broken Wires

Broken wires aren't just painful when they poke you, they also prevent the braces from doing their job. If at all possible, do not cut the wires. Instead, use your fingers or a pair of tweezers to bend the wire. If possible, try to reattach the wire so it is no longer loose. If you can't, then bend it so it is laying flush and no longer poking out. Then, use dental wax to help smooth the pokey parts. The wax also helps hold the wire down.

4. Soreness

General soreness in your jaw is a normal side effect of braces, particularly right after they are put in or in the few days following an adjustment. You may also have a mild headache. Rinsing your mouth with saltwater throughout the day can help relieve some of the soreness in your jaw muscles, as can using a warm compress on the sore spots. You can also take an over-the-counter remedy, such as Ibuprofen, to help relieve pain and headaches.

5. Bracket Damage

When a bracket comes unglued or breaks off, your braces can't do their job. Loose brackets can be temporarily held in place with dental wax. If a bracket completely comes off, try and save it if you can so that your orthodontist can reapply it. Otherwise, there may be a fee for bracket replacement.

Although treatment can begin at home, you also need to contact an orthodontist as soon as you are able to — especially if your braces require a repair.