What if THIS Happens?

Parts of Braces

Managing Orthodontic Concerns

Fortunately, most orthodontic problems are more of a nuisance than true emergencies; wire pokes and loose braces/wires. For this reason, we have created this handy list to ease management when problems arise. If you are unable to resolve your concern, please call our office instead of coming to the office directly. By calling us, you will allow us to create a time to see you.

Discomfort with Orthodontic Treatment

During the first week after your braces are in place and routine adjustments are complete, you will likely feel some pain, soreness or discomfort. You may take acetaminophen or other non-aspirin pain relievers while you adjust to your new braces. A warm wash cloth or heating pad may reduce the soreness in your jaw.

Spacers falling out

These small elastic "O" rings are designed to make spaces between the back teeth for the fitting of orthodontic bands. Do not worry about losing a spacer. If they fall out, this generally means that space has been created. If they fall out over the weekend, please call during regular business hours for advice. If they fall out just 1-2 days before your next appointment, it isn't necessary to have them put back in.

Inside wire loose

Most of our patients in braces have inner stabilizing wires called "lingual wires" (from the Spanish word "lingua" meaning tongue in English). These wires are generally held in with a "machined" metal clasp similar to a jewelry clasp. These holding clasps can pop open allowing the wire to come loose on one side. If this happens, the wire can be removed by opening the remaining clasp. (see Dr. Snyder's YouTube video towards the bottom of this page for complete instructions)

Wire poke

Braces have become "relatively" pain free due to the development of light, flexible wires that align the teeth. These light wires are generally used early in treatment. As the teeth begin their alignment, the wires can begin to slide around. If the wire slides to the left, for instance, it will start to poke the left cheek. To correct this, slide the wire back to the right with a small, clean needle nose pliers, a cotton swab or a new pencil head eraser.

More on wire poke

If the wire is too difficult to slide, you can cut the long end with a small nail cutter or scissors (washed and sterilized in alcohol) or 'bury' the wire into a new piece of pencil head eraser or wax for comfort until our office opens and you are able to come in.

Loose orthodontic brackets or bands

All of the more forward braces (brackets) are adhered to the enamel with strong bonding materials. The back braces typically are cemented rings (bands) around the bigger molar teeth. If either brackets or bands become loose, it can be more of a nuisance than an emergency. Please call our office during regular business hours to make an appointment to have the band, bracket or wire refitted.