Common Issues With New Braces

Most patients will experience some sort of issue when they receive treatment with braces, even if it’s just some mild chafing inside the cheeks for the first week or two. It takes time to adjust to your orthodontic appliances. In many cases, these issues can be avoided or at least the problems can be reduced by following the advice of your Melbourne orthodontist. Here are some of the most common issues we see in patients with new braces.

Tooth Sensitivity

Many patients experience some tooth sensitivity when their braces are initially applied, and sensitivity can happen for a few days after each adjustment at the orthodontist’s office. The teeth can especially become more sensitive to temperature changes from things like hot or cold drinks. A mild over-the-counter pain relief medicine can help alleviate this. Your orthodontist may prescribe a topical ointment that can desensitize your teeth or gums for a short time.

Scraping inside the Cheek

The brackets and the wire may cause some scraping or tenderness inside the cheek in some patients. This should get better over time, but in the meantime, apply the dental wax that your orthodontist provides. The braces shouldn’t cause any additional chafing once the wax is applied to the problem area.

Broken Archwire

The main wire that attaches through the brackets on your braces is under a constant state of pressure. The pressure on the wire can sometimes cause it to break. If this happens, the broken ends of the wire can poke the inside of the cheeks, gums, tongue or lips. The first thing to do with a broken wire is to apply some wax to the broken end. This reduces the chafing or poking. The second thing to do is call us for an immediate appointment, so the broken wire can be safely removed and replaced.

Localized Gingivitis

Braces can increase the volume of dental plaque inside a patient’s mouth. Another issue is that the plaque that accumulates around a fixed orthodontic appliance like braces comes from a different type of bacteria. According to a 2007 study, this can lead to localized gingivitis in some patients with braces. Fortunately, this usually does not progress into full blown periodontitis (gum disease).

Localized gingivitis does, however, lead to red, swollen or inflamed gums. The best way to prevent gingivitis, cavities and other problems while wearing braces is to follow the doctor’s instructions when it comes to frequent brushing or flossing. In a worst case scenario, a patient’s braces may need to be removed so that the gums can be cleaned out and the infection treated before continuing.

Chapped Lips

This isn’t talked about as often when it comes to braces, but it’s a fairly common issue. When patients first have their braces installed, they may hold their mouth open during the initial adjustment period. This causes the lips to dry out and become chapped. Chapstick is the easiest remedy for this. If your braces are touching your lips and causing chafing, however, they will need to be adjusted.

Lost or Broken Ligatures

The ligatures are the parts of your braces that don’t include the archwire or the brackets on the teeth. These parts are sometimes called elastics, and they can come loose, break, or even disappear (usually because the patient accidentally swallowed them in their sleep). Swallowing a ligature won’t be harmful, but it does need to be replaced quickly, so that proper pressure is still being applied to the teeth.

Speech Impediment

Some patients will find they develop a mild speech impediment when their braces are first installed. Most people find a way to work around this and the problem goes away on its own. Some patients, especially children, are not able to overcome it and they just have to endure the speech impediment until treatment concludes. It can even take some time and practice for speech to return to normal after the braces are removed. It’s not permanent! It just takes practice and patience to correct.

If you have any questions about common issues with new braces, or if you think orthodontic treatment may be helpful for you or your child, Contact Us here at Melbourne Orthodontics to schedule an appointment.