Common Problems

General Soreness: It is common and normal to experience some soreness during orthodontic treatment. This can last three to four days after an adjustment. To alleviate discomfort, we recommend that patients eat softer foods and rinse with warm salt water after each meal. Pain relievers may also help. Parents can give children the recommended dosage of Ibuprofen or Tylenol if there is no history of adverse reactions or contraindications to these medications.

Sore spots: Occasionally patients may develop sores while wearing braces. To help relieve any discomfort we recommend placing wax on the problematic area of the braces and use Orabase or Orajel on the sore spot. These sores generally heal within 7 – 10 days. Please call us if you do not experience relief after this time period.

Poking wire tie: If a wire tie begins to scratch your lip, you can gently tuck it under the main archwire with the tip of an eraser. Call our office for an appointment if the discomfort persists.

Injury: Orthodontic appliances can be damaged when a patient sustains injury to the face or mouth. Call for an appointment if the teeth feel loose or if the appliance is broken. 

Loose teeth: Do not be surprised if teeth feel loose during treatment. Teeth need to loosen before they can move into their new positions.

Separator/Spacer is out: If we place a separator (spacer) prior to placing an appliance, and it falls out a day or two before your next appointment you do not need to have it replaced. If it falls out before then, call our office during regular business hours to schedule a quick appointment to replace the missing separator.

Elastics: Elastic band wear will cause sore teeth when you first begin wearing them (approximately the first 3 – 4 days). Once the teeth begin to move, this soreness will go away. Continue to wear the elastics during this initial period of soreness and take pain relievers if necessary. Stopping elastics because of discomfort and re-starting them will only increase the time of discomfort. Do not continue wearing the rubber bands if you are unsure how they are to be worn. Call our office during regular business hours and we will let you know how to wear your elastics.

Broken Archwire: Call our office during regular business hours to schedule an emergency visit. Place wax over the area if the wire is poking.

Appliances or Headgear that does not fit: Call our office during regular business hours and schedule an appointment to have the appliance or headgear adjusted. Do not try to force the appliance or headgear into place.

Loose band or bracket: Call our office during regular business hours and schedule a repair appointment. If you come for a routine short appointment with a loose appliance, there may not be time in the schedule to do the repair, so please call us so we can plan a time for the repair.  If the loose band or bracket is irritating the gums or cheek, place wax over the area. 

Missing or broken elastic ties: Call our office during regular business hours and schedule an appointment to have missing or broken ties replaced. If the tie is missing or broken, the tooth can drift away from the archwire. This is particularly a problem if you are wearing rubber bands.