Orthodontist examining braces of young woman in dental chair

Common Problems with Braces and How to Fix Them

If you’re wearing braces, you’re in good company. Millions of teens and adults get braces each year to correct imperfect smiles. Although stainless steel braces have been widespread since the 1970s, they have gone through many evolutions to improve comfort and function.

Even still, problems can arise with braces. But fortunately, they are almost always very easy to fix. Here are six of the most common problems braces may cause, and how to safely remedy them.

1. Discomfort in Your Mouth

The purpose of braces is to move your teeth into a healthier, more attractive alignment. This means your teeth will be shifting during treatment. Unfortunately, this can cause discomfort. Most patients experience a dull ache, rather than shooting pain, and it typically arises after having your braces tightened.The good news is that you can likely get relief with an over-the-counter pain reliever such as Tylenol.

2. Difficulty Maintaining Good Oral Hygiene 

Braces do make it a bit harder to brush and floss your teeth in the way you were accustomed to doing before getting braces. Fortunately, there are toothbrushes designed specifically for people with braces. They are designed to reach under the wire and around the brackets for thorough cleaning. Another idea is to add mouthwash to your oral care regimen if you don’t already. Mouthwash can help get little bits of food out and prevent the growth of bacteria which can cause bad breath.

3. Staining

To prevent staining while wearing braces, reduce your intake of beverages that are known to cause stains. These include coffees, teas, and red wine. If you can’t eliminate them completely, use a straw to drink them.  

4. Snapped Rubber Bands

The rubber bands that keep the wire securely attached to the brackets are called ligatures. Occasionally they may snap, or fall off. If this happens, simply call your orthodontist for an appointment as soon as possible. If you accidentally swallow one of the rubber bands, don’t panic. They won’t hurt you.

5. Broken Wire or Bracket

It doesn’t happen often but occasionally a bracket or wire may break. When this happens, crunchy or hard foods are generally to blame. Notify your orthodontist immediately, and try to get in for a repair as soon as possible. If it happens over the weekend or at night, apply dental wax to protect your lips or the inside of your cheek from being scraped. 

6. Cuts on the Inside of Your Lips or Cheeks

The skin in the interior of our lips and inside our cheeks is very sensitive. Braces rubbing against these areas can lead to irritation or cuts. If your braces are causing cuts, notify your orthodontist. The brackets should not be sharp enough to cause serious damage, so any areas that feel noticeably sharp need to be brought to your orthodontist’s attention.  If the insides of your cheeks and lips are merely irritated, try covering the brackets with dental wax, so the brackets are less abrasive. 

Schedule an Appointment With Manhattan’s Favorite Orthodontist

Voted best orthodontist in New York by the Teeth Blog, Stachel Orthodontics is located in Midtown West. Dr. Jennifer Stachel is an expert in traditional braces, and an “Diamond Plus Provider” for Invisalign, a designation given only to orthodontists who have treated hundreds of patients with Invisalign. In addition to Invisalign and traditional metal braces, Jennifer Stachel Orthodontics also offers INBRACE, which uses a hidden wire behind your teeth. Other teeth straightening treatments available at Stachel Orthodontics in NYC include Incognito Hidden Braces and  Damon Clear Braces. To start your journey to a straight, beautiful smile today contact us at 212-877-7177