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5 Common Problems with Braces (& How to Fix Them!)

March 31, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nancy @ 5:45 pm
Closeup of man in blue shirt with jaw pain

Braces do a wonderful job in aligning teeth for a beautiful smile.  Sometimes however, a patient may experience an obstacle along the way.  No to worry –a occasional problem arises and this is both normal and “fixable”.  

1. Soft Tissue Irritation

As your mouth adjusts to the presence of the brackets and wires, you may experience some irritation to the soft tissue in your mouth, particularly on the inside of your cheeks and lips. This sensation will subside with time, and there is a more immediate solution: dental wax! This flavorless, water-resistant material is designed to cover the sharp edges and prevent tenderness. Simply break off a small piece, place it over your braces, and remove it when you want to eat or complete your oral hygiene regimen.

2. A Broken Archwire

The archwire plays an essential role in gently guiding your teeth into the right positions. However, sometimes a wire may break.  This can result in the sharp edge that may poke your cheek.  In addition to being uncomfortable, an unaddressed broken wire may cause more severe issues.  It is important to call the office as soon as possible to let us know that a wire has broken.  In the meantime, use wax to cover the sharp area.

3. Swollen Gums

Gum tissue inflammation is a common occurrence during orthodontic treatment.  Sometimes it can be from plaque that was not removed while brushing.  Sometime it is because teeth are moving into areas where teeth are missing and the gum tissue is getting “squished”.  It is important to keep your orthodontist informed when the tissue gets “puffy.”  Recommendations will be made after we assess “why” the issue is inflamed.  Occasionally a deep cleaning is necessary.  Sometimes the temporary tissue swelling is fine for a time.  In any case, let your orthodontist know.

4. Temporary Changes to Speech

Although the large majority of patients do not experience changes to their speech, it can happen.  Your tongue moves against the back of your teeth to create distinct sounds, and it takes time to adjust if an orthodontic appliance is in the way. The good news is that any changes in speech are temporary.  There are several ways you can help speed up the adjustment period, including reading out loud, repeating difficult words a few times, and singing!  Hang in there!  We know this takes a little time.

5. Loose Teeth

As your teeth move, they may feel loose. One of the best things to do is avoid hard, crunchy, and chewy foods that can make the issue worse.  Try filling up on foods that are both soft and nutrient-dense, like yogurt, oatmeal, and vegetable soup. If your teeth feel loose after your braces have been removed, then wear your retainer consistently to help them “set” in their ideal positions.

About the Author

Leading our team at Sensational Smiles is Dr. Frances Hamman, an orthodontist with 30+ years of experience. Thanks to her passion for creating gorgeous smiles and commitment to providing exceptional service, she’s been recognized as one of “Washington’s Top Orthodontists” by both Northern Virginia Magazine and the Washington Consumers Checkbook magazine. If you want to learn more about life with braces or you’d like to schedule an appointment, visit her website or call (920) 748-7130.

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