Dental Braces

Dental Health Advice

What emergencies may occur related to dental braces?

General Soreness:

It is common and normal to experience some soreness during orthodontic treatment. This can last three to four days after an adjustment. It is usually advisable to eat softer foods and take painkillers for this period if required.

Sore spots:

Occasionally patients may develop ulcers while wearing braces. Depending on the cause of the ulcer, it may help to place wax on the brace in the area of the ulcer. Ulcers generally heal within 7 – 10 days.


Orthodontic appliances can be damaged when a patient sustains injury to the face or mouth.

Loose teeth:

Do not be surprised if teeth feel loose during treatment. Teeth need to loosen before they can move into their new positions. Care is needed with this teeth during this period.

Separator/Spacer is out:

If a separator (spacer) falls out a day or two before your next orthodontic appointment you do not need to have it replaced. If it falls out before then, it is advisable to contact the orthodontist or dentist to have it replaced.

Elastic bands:

Elastic band wear will cause sore teeth when you first begin wearing them (approximately the first 3 – 4 days). Once the teeth begin to move, this soreness will go away. Continue to wear the rubber bands during this initial period of soreness and take pain relievers if necessary. Do not continue wearing the rubber bands if you are unsure how they are to be worn.

Broken Arch wire:

Occasionally the arch wire can break or dislodge. This can result in a very sharp edge rubbing on your cheek or gum, resulting in an ulcer.

Appliances or Headgear that does not fit:

In this situation, it is best to contact your orthodontist or dentist as soon as possible to arrange an appointment to have the appliance or headgear adjusted. Do not try to force the appliance or headgear into place.

Loose bracket or attachment:

Occasionally brackets or attachments can dislodge, resulting in irritation to the cheeks or gum. In this case, it is best to contact your orthodontist or dentist as soon as possible to arrange an appointment to have the offending item re-attached in the correct position.  In the meantime, clean well around the loose item and place wax over the area if it is causing discomfort.

How should I try to prevent problems arising with my dental brace?

The following are some tips to avoid emergencies arising whilst wearing braces:

Avoiding damaging chewing habits

Try to avoid nail biting or pen chewing as these can damage or break your brace.

Avoiding damage whilst playing sports

If you have a removable brace it is best to take it out and put it in a brace case. You can buy these from your dentist, or from most large pharmacists. If you do remove your brace, it is important to use a mouth guard and then put your brace back in as soon as possible. It is also best to take your brace out if you are swimming.

If you have a fixed brace you should wear a mouth guard designed for use during contact sports over the brace. Your dental team will be able to make you one.

Playing musical instruments

Braces may affect playing wind instruments, although with practice you should get used to it. If your brace is removable then it is best to remove it and store it safely in a brace case. Put it back in straight after you have finished playing.

Preventing damage during eating

Eating the wrong foods can damage or even break your brace. For the first few days, it may be better to keep to soft foods.

Whatever type of brace you have, you should avoid sticky, chewy and sugary foods. Chewing gum is not recommended as it can stick to your brace. Avoid hard foods such as whole apples, carrots, French bread and crusty rolls. These foods could break the wires and brackets that are part of your brace.

At first it is best to cut your food into small pieces and keep to a soft diet. Food may build up in the brackets and in between your teeth and will need careful cleaning to remove it.

Avoid fizzy drinks, sodas, pops, carbonated drinks and natural fruit juices, as these are often high in sugar and can be acidic. This can lead to tooth decay and erosion. Fizzy drinks can also stain the brackets of your brace. If you do drink these types of drinks, don’t sip the drink – use a straw instead. Water and plain milk are the safest drinks.

Why should I look after my mouth when I have a brace?

It is very important that you take the time and effort needed to keep your teeth and braces clean. This will help you avoid problems such as tooth decay, inflamed gums, and ‘tooth demineralisation’. Demineralisation is when the enamel on the surface of your teeth is damaged, and this may leave white spots or cavities on your teeth after the brace is removed. It is also important to keep having your usual dental check-ups with your regular dental team while you are having orthodontic treatment. This is to make sure that your teeth and mouth stay healthy.

What if I lose or damage my brace?

If you lose or damage your brace tell your dental team or orthodontist as soon as possible. Do not wait until your next appointment. If you are not wearing your brace, or it is not in the correct position, this affects your treatment and makes it more likely that your teeth will go back to their old position. Dentists may charge for lost or broken braces before replacing them.

How should I clean my mouth and brace?

Clean your teeth and the brace thoroughly after each meal. It is best not to brush your teeth until at least one hour after eating. Pay special attention to every tooth and the gum line around it.

You can use an electric or ‘power’ toothbrush, although with care, as long as you can get to all your teeth. Ask your dental team or orthodontist about special small brushes which are suitable for cleaning your teeth when wearing a brace.

‘Interdental’ brushes can help you clean a fixed brace. They can get in between your teeth and are ideal for cleaning around the brackets of a fixed brace. Your orthodontist or dentist should stock these.

You can also use dental floss under the orthodontic wires to remove trapped bits of food.

Disclosing tablets contain a harmless dye which stains dental plaque. This makes it easier to see where the plaque is when you are brushing. It helps you to make sure that you are brushing your teeth properly. Your dentist, pharmacist or supermarket will stock these.

Using fluoride mouth rinses regularly can help to prevent tooth decay and tooth demineralisation. You should only use them if your dentist or orthodontist recommends them, and be sure to follow the instructions they give you.

How do I clean my removable brace?

Your dentist or orthodontist will be able to show you special techniques for cleaning your brace. It is best to clean your brace over a sink full of water so that it isn’t damaged if you drop it. Keep a separate toothbrush just for cleaning your brace. Use toothpaste to clean it. Gently brush the brace and rinse it thoroughly with fresh water afterwards.

How can The 247 Dentist help with my brace emergency?

With most of the problems that occur with braces, it is best to wait until you can see the Orthodontist or dentist who is treating you in order that they can assess the situation and deal appropriately with it. However, in cases where a wire is catching the cheek or gum, it may be helpful to attend The 247 Dentist to have them relieve this area of discomfort for you and prevent further trauma.

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