Dealing with Problems

Dealing with common problems associated with orthodontic appliances.


Emergency Prevention

Most emergencies can be prevented if you are careful about what you eat. HARD and STICKY foods are particularly problematic - they can knock your brackets off, bend wires and cause many other problems. These foods include nuts, sticky candy, popcorn, caramel, corn-on-the-cob, French bread, apples (unless cut), chewing gum

Loose brackets

Brackets are small metal squares that are "glued" to your teeth. If you accidentally eat something HARD or STICKY, one of the brackets may come off. If the bracket is just loose and your next appointment is soon, you can leave it alone. You can also keep it in place with dental wax. If the bracket is all the way off, contact us for an emergency appointment to get this repaired.

Broken Archwire

Archwires are long metal wires that stretch horizontally across your teeth and move your teeth. If the archwire breaks, and your next appointment is soon, just mention it at your next visit. If your next appointment is not soon, then contact us for an emergency appointment to get this repaired.

If the archwire is causing you discomfort and you need to remove it, then gently take hold of the broken wire with some pliers or tweezers and very gently pull out of the brackets.

Wire poking or bracket rubbing

The most common 'emergency' is a poking wire or a loose/rubbing bracket. To stop the irritation, take a piece of dental wax and place it over the area that bothers you. Replace the wax as needed. If you need more wax, please contact us and ask for more. Most chemists will carry dental wax.

Wire out of place

Occasionally a wire may slip out of place and poke into your gum or cheek. If it's a small wire, try to nudge the wire back into place using a pencil eraser. If the archwire end comes out of its tube, try to reinsert the wire with tweezers. If you are unable to do this, then you may clip the wires using clean wire cutters, toenail scissors or clippers. If you need help, please contact us for an emergency appointment.

Wire is too long

As teeth move, the archwire end can get longer or shorter. If it gets so long that it's poking your cheek, it will need to be cut. You can try to clip the wire using clean wire cutters, toenail scissors or clippers. If you cannot cut the wire, then cover the end with wax or if you need help, please contact us for an emergency appointment.

Loose Teeth

As your teeth move, some teeth may feel 'loose' for a while. This is perfectly normal and is an important step in the straightening process. Eventually your teeth will stabilise and not feel loose any more.

If your teeth feel sore, rinse with warm salt water (1 cup of water and 1 tspn salt). If necessary, take the pain reliever you would normally use for a headache.