Possible Problems

Soreness Caused by Braces and Appliances

When you first get your braces, you may notice that your teeth and mouth feel a little tender or sore. This is perfectly normal and your mouth will not be sore forever! Teeth may be tender for three to five days. Stick to a soft diet until chewing does not bother your teeth. Relieve irritated gums and sore spots by rinsing your mouth with a warm salt-water mouthwash. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in eight ounces of warm water, and swish vigorously.

If the tenderness is severe, take Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain. Aspirin, Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and Naproxen Sodium (Naprosyn, Anaprox) actually slow down tooth movement, so frequent use while in braces is not advisable.

Your lips, cheeks, and tongue may become irritated as they learn a new posture and become accustomed to the surface of the braces, use wax to lessen the irritation.

Loose Teeth

If your teeth begin feeling a little loose, don't worry; this is normal! Your braces must first loosen your teeth to move them into the right position. Once your teeth have been repositioned, they will no longer be loose.

Loose Appliances

The wires, bands, and brackets may come loose. If this happens, please contact us as soon as possible so that we can check and repair your appliance. If any piece of your appliance comes off, save it and bring it to your appointment.

You may temporarily fix a loose wire using the back of a spoon or the eraser end of a pencil to carefully and gently push the wire back into place. If the loose wire is causing irritation to your lips or cheeks, place wax or a wet cotton ball over the broken wire to relieve discomfort.  

If your bracket or band is still attached to the wire, you should leave it in place and put wax on it if needed for comfort. If the bracket or band can be removed easily, save and bring to your next appointment. If your appliance is poking you, place wax on the offending part. Call the office to have the appliance adjusted or remade.

Recurrently damaged appliances increase the length of treatment. Your teeth and jaw can only move into correct positions if you consistently wear elastics, headgear, retainer, and/or other appliances prescribed by your doctor.


Headgear works really well if worn! Sometimes discomfort is caused by not wearing the headgear as instructed by your orthodontist. Please refer to the instructions provided by your orthodontist. If the facebow (metal piece) is bent, please call our office for assistance. The headgear hurts less the more it's worn, so make sure you get in the prescribed number of hours.

Playing Sports with Braces

If you play sports, wearing a mouthguard to protect your teeth and appliances is strongly recommended. In case of a sports emergency, immediately check your mouth and appliance for damage. If you notice any loose teeth or appliance damage, please contact our office right away. Temporarily relieve discomfort by applying wax or rinsing with warm saltwater.

Emergency Care

While true orthodontic emergencies are rare, we make every effort to be available when they do occur. As a general rule, call our office when you experience severe pain or have a painful appliance problem you can't take care of by yourself. We are happy to schedule an appointment to resolve the problem.

You can temporarily solve many problems yourself, until you're able to schedule an appointment. If there is a loose piece that you can remove, put it in a plastic bag or envelope and bring it with you to your next appointment. If you have something poking, put soft wax on the sharp area.

After alleviating discomfort, it is very important that you still call our office as soon as possible and schedule a time to properly repair the problem.

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