When you choose to correct the appearance or functionality of your smile it helps to anticipate some of the common orthodontic problems that come with the territory so that you won’t fear them. At Hardy Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, we believe in empowering our patients with knowledge so they can be prepared. This helps them be free from fear and know exactly what to do when a situation arises that may cause them discomfort or unease. Orthodontic treatment is not exempt from some uncomfortable issues, challenges, and orthodontic problems, but you will soon learn that these challenges are completely worth it in the end.
A Small Price for Your Good Health
A beautiful smile is the most obvious benefit of orthodontic treatment, but even more than the aesthetic goals you have for yourself or a loved one are the health benefits you receive. A properly aligned smile prevents you, or your child, from:
- Persistent jaw pain
- An inability to eat or chew comfortably
- Breathing problems
- Swallowing and speech problems
- Poor dental health
- Low self-esteem
- Serious physical health problems
- Freely laughing or smiling
- Distraction from play and learning
- Tooth decay
- Diseased gums
- Bone destruction
- TMJ problems
- Loss of teeth
Here are some examples of some of the most common orthodontic problems patients confront during orthodontic treatment that you can watch out for. It is important to note that not every issue listed below occurs, but being prepared just in case is always a good idea.
As you become accustomed to your new braces, your teeth will likely be tender and you may experience a dull ache for the first 2-4 days. We recommend patients eat soft foods during this initial adjustment period and use an over-the-counter pain reliever if necessary. Some patients also find a warm saltwater rinse helpful. Accessory appliances such as rubber bands, springs, or headgear can occasionally cause teeth to become sore. When wearing these appliances as prescribed, the sensitivity typically goes away in 2-4 days.
Lip and Cheek Sores
During the initial adjustment period, new braces patients may get small sores on their lips or cheeks. Within a few weeks, the lips and cheeks will become less sensitive. If at any time during treatment you notice a particular area of your braces that is aggravating the inside of your mouth, place a small piece of wax on the part of your braces that is causing the irritation. A topical anesthetic such as Orabase® or Orajel® can be used for immediate relief.
Loose Bands and Brackets
Brackets and bands typically break when patients eat certain prohibited foods or pick at their braces. If a band or bracket comes loose and is uncomfortable, place a piece of wax on the spot causing irritation. In general, a broken bracket is not an emergency and can be fixed at your next scheduled appointment. If the broken bracket causes significant discomfort, is supposed to hold a rubber band in place, or if a bracket breaks on one of the upper or lower 4 front teeth, please call the office and we will schedule an appointment as soon as possible.
Wires can come loose from sticky foods or when a patient picks at the braces. If you notice a wire is protruding and causing irritation, try using a Q-tip or clean pencil eraser to push the wire in towards the teeth to relieve the discomfort. Placing wax over the spot causing irritation may also allow the cheek to heal and toughen up. If issues persist, please contact our office and we will help you remedy the situation. To help avoid accidental damage, patients should also avoid biting their fingernails and pens or pencils.
Loose or Missing Elastic Wire
If you notice a loose or missing elastic tie that goes around a bracket, do not worry. These elastic ties can be fixed or replaced during your next appointment.
Accidents to the Mouth
If you experience a bump or trauma to the mouth during orthodontic treatment and your teeth were hit and hurt, please call the office right away. A short examination will ensure that no damage has been done.
Call Us When Facing Orthodontic Problems
If you ever are faced with an orthodontic problem that you are unsure how to handle or treat please do not hesitate to call our office at 720-887-6003. A knowledgeable member of our friendly staff will help talk you through any experience you need help with and if necessary schedule an appointment for you to be seen in our Erie office.