Lip Pain

Brackets tend to irritate the lips in the first few weeks. Lips get drier and sometimes start to bleed. Apply a lubricant such as Vaseline or Chap Stick to the lips, and place wax on the orthodontic devices to protect the lips from sharp edges. If soreness lasts more than a few days and wax does not help, call your orthodontist and ask whether an early appointment should be scheduled.

Tooth Pain

When pressure is applied to the teeth, you may feel some tenderness which usually persists for 2-3 days. The intensity and duration of the discomfort will vary with each patient. If you feel an unusual amount of pain or discomfort, please call the office immediately (501) 821-5859.


If your headgear tends to fall off at night or cause any other problems, call your orthodontist for advice. Important: If a loose bonded appliance injures your soft tissue, try to put some wax on the part of the appliance that is irritating you. Call your orthodontist to make an earlier appointment. The appliance should be rebonded as soon as possible but does not usually require emergency attention.

Allergic Symptoms

Although uncommon, allergies to brackets or other metal appliances and sometimes even to latex gloves do occur. If allergic symptoms such as inflammation and skin rashes appear, you should call contact our office as soon as possible.

Bent and Broken Appliances

Orthodontic appliances are designed to move teeth in all directions. Sometimes teeth will move in a direction that seems to be wrong. Be patient. Usually this happens when tooth movement has just begun and only one direction of movement can be seen. Undesired tooth movement can occur also when brackets come off, when the force being applied is too strong, or when wires are bent and damaged. Call your orthodontist to check whether an earlier appointment is needed.

If a broken appliance can be easily removed, take it out. If not, cover the sharp, irritating parts with wax or chewing gum. However, when a wire is sticking out and wax does not help, you should call the office. If professional assistance is not available, the wire can be cut with a small wire cutter. A broken appliance that does not cause any irritation does not usually require emergency attention.

Gum Concerns

If oral hygiene is not properly maintained during orthodontic treatment, the gums may become swollen and start to bleed. Special care, including brushing the gums gently and rinsing with mouthwash or warm saltwater, usually helps return the gums to a healthy condition. Use dental floss to check whether food is stuck between your teeth. Sometimes swollen gums are caused by the orthodontic movement of the teeth. See the section on oral hygiene, and call your orthodontist to check whether an earlier appointment is needed.

Removable Appliance

Loose metal parts of a removable appliance may no longer hold it in the mouth and should be tightened. Erupting teeth may result in an improper fit of the appliance. Remove the appliance and call your orthodontist to make an earlier appointment.

Swallowed Part of Your Appliance

It will usually pass through your digestive system and out of your body. However, if you have difficulties in breathing, you should seek immediate medical help.

Loose or Broken Devices


-Decay can develop under a loose band if left unrepaired for too long.

-If it is a small tie wire, you may remove it and call the office. If it is the main arch wire (which connects all the teeth), try to move it so it is comfortable and phone the office for an appointment. If it is not possible to make it comfortable place and you are unable to come to the office immediately, please cut the wire as close as possible to the nearest bracket it is still secured to (use a small wire cutter or fingernail clipper). To prevent irritation, use wax. Open the wax container, take out a small piece of wax, and apply it directly to the irritating part of the appliance. Press gently and smooth it out with your finger. You should continue brushing your teeth and brackets even when you have wax in your mouth. Remember, wax is harmless and can be applied as often as necessary. Do not worry if you swallow it.

Poking Wire or Band

Use the wax we have provided to cover the irritating part and call the office for an immediate appointment. Please remember to dry off the area first so the wax will stick better. If you do not have wax with you, use cotton, tissue, or gauze until we can take care of the problem. Moldable silicon ear plugs, available at any pharmacy, work very well. Sometimes the eraser end of a pencil can be used to push a small poking wire back into place.