Women woried with dental pain.

Now that you have braces, or will be getting them soon, you have joined an elite group who are working toward their spectacular smile and often share common issues. You can reduce the odds of having to deal with some of these situations, but others just come with having braces. Luckily, there are ways to deal with them.

Broken Wires and Loose Bands or Brackets

How to avoid these problems: Remember that list of what not to eat that your orthodontist provided you when you got your braces? This is why. Hard and sticky foods are the main causes of damaged wires and loose brackets and bands. The best way to avoid this problem is to not eat them until your braces are off. Another cause is getting hit in the mouth while playing sports, so be sure to wear proper protection, such as a mouth guard.

How to fix them: If a wire becomes completely detached from your braces, take it out of your mouth so it doesn’t irritate your mouth. If one end comes loose, use a pencil eraser to gently bend it back toward your teeth so it doesn’t irritate your cheeks or gums, and cover it with orthodontic wax until you can get in to see your orthodontist. It may be tempting to cut the wire shorter so it doesn’t rub the inside of your mouth, but cutting the wire should only be done if completely necessary. Try your best to cover it with wax until you can make it in to your orthodontist.

If a bracket comes loose and moves away from the tooth, it will remain attached to your wire with the elastic tie. If the elastic tie is gone, use sterile tweezers to remove the bracket from your mouth. See your orthodontist as soon as possible to have it reattached. If one of your bands comes loose, bring it to your appointment so it can be reattached.

Sore Spots in Mouth

How to avoid this problem: Unfortunately, this is just a fact of life for people with braces, especially when you first get them.

How to fix it: The sore spots are from the wire or brackets of your braces rubbing against the inside of your cheek, so removing the irritant is the first step. Figure out what part of your braces is rubbing and coat it with a little orthodontic wax. Then alleviate the pain in your cheek by rinsing it with some warm salt water. If you think the soreness is being caused by a problem with your braces, go see your orthodontist.

Lost Retainer or Headgear

How to avoid this problem: The good thing about appliances and headgear is they are removable, so they don’t have to be worn all the time and you can remove them to eat or brush and floss your teeth. However, this is also the bad thing about them because they can get lost. The best way to avoid this problem is to have a specific place you put them any time you aren’t wearing them. If you have a retainer you take out when you eat, have a plastic container of some sort to put it in until it goes back into your mouth. If you wear headgear at night, keep it on your nightstand or bathroom counter so you know where to look for it when it’s time for bed.

How to fix it: This is not a cheap problem to fix, so it’s best to avoid it in the first place. If you have looked everywhere and really cannot find your appliance or headgear, you will need to make an appointment with your orthodontist and get a replacement.

No matter how careful you are with your braces, things happen. Just do your best to take care of your braces and don’t panic if a problem arises. Use these tips and make an appointment to see your orthodontist as soon as possible.