Here a wire, there a wire, everywhere a poking wire…..

Posted On: October 11, 2016

During orthodontic treatment, it is normal to experience some rubbing or irritation from the braces, wires, or appliances. The arch wires move as the teeth move, so you may be fine one day, and have something poking the next. If an arch wire is causing irritation to your cheeks or lips, try to push it away from the area with a pencil eraser, cotton swab, or tweezers. If that doesn’t help, then you need to cover the end of the wire. There are different things that you can use for a short term fix until you can get in to see your orthodontist. Wax is the most common. Patients are normally given orthodontic wax at the time they get their braces on. It’s simple to use, roll it into a pea size ball, and dry off the area in your mouth, then smoosh it on. That’s it! It stays on pretty well and is not harmful if accidently swallowed. You can still eat and brush with the wax on, but you may have to replace it throughout the day. Wax is also useful if you’ve had a brace that has come loose from a tooth. Cover the brace with the wax in the same way you would a poking wire. If you are in a pinch, a good alternative is sugar-free gum. Just chew a small piece and cover the area that is irritating your mouth. Make sure that it is sugar free though; you don’t want to get any cavities! A few other ideas to get you by until you can be seen are cotton balls, gauze, sticky rice, or an orange peel (clean it first before putting it into your mouth). These are things that you can place between the wire and your cheek to prevent further discomfort. If you feel brave, you can attempt to cut or trim the wire. Use a clean pair of nail clippers/wire cutters/scissors, but be careful because you could end up breaking off a brace. While we hope that you don’t have any orthodontic emergencies during your treatment, they can happen on occasion… but luckily are rare. It always seems that weekends are notorious for unexpected annoyances, but with these tips you can get yourself comfortable until the next business day or your next appointment. -Lindi