While issues are rare, we encourage our patients at Clauss Orthodontics to be informed and ready if something happens, however minimal. Our team is here to help by providing some common at-home remedies that can allow you to deal with small issues quickly and easily, helping to maintain the health of your teeth and keep your treatment on track.
Your Checklist of Essentials
Issues with orthodontic appliances are uncommon. Luckily, many can be solved temporarily at home by an adult with the help of these resourceful essentials.
Toothbrush And Toothpaste: used to thoroughly clean your teeth and remove plaque and bacteria residue.
Floss And Threaders: to dislodge pesky food particles stuck between your teeth and to reach between your wires with ease
Salt Water Rinse: A teaspoon of salt in warm tap water can help soothe irritated oral tissues.
Non-Prescription Pain Relievers: to help ease discomfort throughout treatment and in cases of sensitivity or aches
Orthodontic Wax: used to protect the inside of your mouth from sharp, pokey wires or other irritation
Nail Clippers and Tweezers: can be used in the case of a protruding wire, but should be washed and sterilized with alcohol prior to use
Water Bottle: to naturally wash away plaque residue and loose food particles when unable to brush
Our team recommends ensuring you have each of these items in your home as well as in a small travel kit for convenience when you are out and about. The following are some tips and tricks to using these items for at-home remedies.
Loose or Poking Wires
Often caused by eating something sticky or hard, loose or poking wires can cause irritation to the cheeks or gums. Also, as your teeth shift position and alignment during treatment, the wire can become displaced, leading to irritation or cuts on the inside of your mouth.
If a wire has become dislodged, you can attempt to guide it back into position with sterile tweezers and, if successful, place a small piece of orthodontic wax to cover any sharp edges and allow any irritation to subside. Should a wire begin poking or continue to bother you, have an adult trim the wire at its base with sterilized nail clippers to alleviate any further discomfort. If a bracket becomes loose and no longer attached to the wire, place it in a small baggie if possible and bring it to your next appointment with Dr. Clauss.
A Piece of Your Appliance Was Swallowed
In the case of a broken wire, bracket, or other small piece, carefully remove it if you feel it inside of your mouth. In rare instances, a loose piece can be swallowed, however, don’t worry as most of these will eventually pass without any further issues. If you do think you have swallowed any part of your appliance, please contact us to let us know, and we will advise you if anything further is needed.
General Tooth Pain
Wearing an orthodontic appliance comes with an adjustment period as your mouth gets used to the presence of something new. With slight pressure constantly being placed on your teeth, you may experience soreness or sensitivity early on or after an adjustment. This is completely normal, expected, and (most importantly) only temporary.
It should subside on its own within a week. However, there are a few things you can do at home to help, including taking non-prescription pain relievers to ease any discomfort, sticking to soft foods, and rinsing with warm salt water to help soothe any irritation.
Mouth sores can be bothersome but, luckily, are very treatable. They are commonly caused by metal appliance irritation against your cheeks and lips and take the form of ulcers or “canker sores.” You can roll a small piece of orthodontic wax into a pea-sized ball and cover the area of your appliance that is causing it. A quick rinse with warm salt water can also help lessen the irritation.
The brackets on braces can sometimes loosen and detach from the tooth during treatment. This can be due to eating foods that put too much stress on the braces or just regular wear and tear. To temporarily fix it, use sterile tweezers to slide the bracket back between your teeth, rotate it to the correct position, and then place it back in the tooth’s center. If it is causing irritation, cover the loose bracket with a small piece of orthodontic wax.
Be sure to contact us to let us know of the situation, and we can determine whether or not we need to schedule a comfort visit prior to your next regular adjustment.
Keep Your Smile Safe From Complications
There are many proactive steps you can take to secure your future oral health and protect yourself from these orthodontic issues. The better care you take of your teeth today, the more you will thank yourself later!
Always Stay Hydrated
The power of water is not to be underestimated. It is a great way to naturally clean your teeth when you can’t access your toothbrush. A quick swish dislodges small food particles and helps wash away plaque on your teeth. Keeping yourself hydrated also ensures your mouth stays moist and safe from bacteria buildup.
Maintaining Your Everyday Oral Health
The cornerstone of your dental health, twice daily brushing and flossing routines help to keep your teeth in excellent condition and protect them from disease. Additional methods of maintaining your oral hygiene include using mouthwash and even scraping your tongue.
Prioritize Your Follow-Up Appointments
Attending your scheduled appointments allows our team to stay up to date on your orthodontic health and make prompt adjustments as necessary. Dr. Clauss can spot the beginning signs of issues before they become severe, keeping you safe and your treatment on track.
Protect Your Teeth Like An Expert!
We hope you now better understand how to take care of common issues you may encounter during your orthodontic treatment. As always, if you have any questions or concerns about how to handle something, our knowledgeable front desk can help you and schedule a comfort visit if necessary. Clauss Orthodontics proudly serves Middlebury, Watertown, and the surrounding communities. Not a patient, but want more information? Call us today to schedule your free consultation.