What to Do When Your Wire is Poking You

Orthodontic wire emergencies can happen anywhere at any time. While it is best to have your orthodontist fix the problem, there is a good chance that the emergency will happen at a time when you are unable to get in for an appointment. Learning how to handle poking orthodontic wires at home can relieve a lot of your pain and provide you with enough comfort to hold you over until you can see the orthodontist.

The following is an easy-to-understand guide that will offer you several tips on how to handle an uncomfortable, and sometimes painful, poking orthodontic wire.

Pull Out the Orthodontic Wax

From the day your braces are placed to the day they are taken off, you will most likely carry orthodontic wax with you wherever you go. Orthodontic wax is your new ‘must have’ item because it is extremely effective at helping you out should you experience a wire emergency. Just take a little bit of it, roll it up, and stick it onto the area that is bothersome, and this will help your wire emergency go away.

Keep the following things in mind when using orthodontic wax to fix a wire emergency:

  • Completely clean the area where you need to apply the orthodontic wax. The best way to clean the area is by brushing, but if you don’t have a toothbrush with you can rinse your mouth out with warm water.
  • Always clean your hands before placing the orthodontic wax in your mouth.
  • Before placing the orthodontic wax in your mouth, make sure the area is completely dry. If the area is wet or damp the wax may not stay in place. A piece of gauze or Q-tip can be used to quickly dry the area.
  • Only use a small amount of orthodontic wax. The recommended amount is about the size of a pea.
  • Place the wax in the dry area of the mouth near where the wire is poking or cutting you. Try to minimize the amount of movement in the area to help keep the wax in place.
  • Remove the orthodontic wax before brushing and eating.
  • Do not reuse orthodontic wax. Once it is removed, throw it away and use a new piece.
  • Don’t panic if you accidently swallow the wax. The wax is harmless if consumed in small quantities.

When in Doubt Use a Pencil Eraser

A pencil eraser isn’t just a handy tool for correcting mistakes; it can be helpful should you experience an orthodontic wire emergency. Unlike orthodontic wax which is placed in the mouth in an effort to relieve the pain and discomfort of a poking wire, the pencil eraser is used to gently push the wire back into place.

Some poking wires, usually the thinner ones, can be gently pushed back towards the teeth or bracket. When this is done it can stop some of the pain caused by the poking wire.

If you use a pencil eraser to fix a poking wire, keep the following things in mind:

  • Always use a clean pencil eraser.
  • Pull the cheek away from the braces while you gently poke the wire back into place
  • Don’t try to completely fix the poking wire. Just try to move it to a position that is more comfortable for you. Pushing the wire closer to your teeth or under the archwire if possible.
  • Using a pencil eraser can be successful when working with thinner wires. It may not be helpful should you experience problems with a larger archwire.

Schedule an Appointment with Your Orthodontist as Soon as Possible

These solutions are intended to provide temporary relief. They are not meant to be permanent fixes. After you have fixed your poking orthodontic wire, call Reddick Orthodontic’s office and explain the situation. They may schedule you for an emergency appointment or, if it isn’t too far away, they may have you wait until your next scheduled appointment.

If you have any questions about how to fix a poking orthodontic wire, feel free to call Melbourne Orthodontics. Our staff will gladly help you or answer any questions you may have.