How to Manage Orthodontic Issues at Home

orthodontic issues

Orthodontic issues can, unfortunately, come up at home. If you find yourself in the middle of an emergency with your treatment- do not panic. Be sure to call your orthodontist and let them know right away. They can get you back on track to having straighter teeth.

However, not every issue is an immediate emergency. Everything with teeth happens slowly, so you might be able to put the issue on a halt before you find time to come into our office and get it permanently fixed.

Plus, with everyone staying home due to the pandemic, you are going to want to know how best to take care of any problems that you run into while you practice social distancing. Here is what you can do to manage any problems that you come across!

What You Need

These items can help you out if you notice an orthodontic issue that needs to be corrected. Be sure to keep some on hand!

  • Orthodontic wax
  • Tweezers
  • Q-tips
  • Pain relievers
  • Topical anesthetic
  • Toothpicks
  • Dental floss

Common Problems and How to Manage Them

1. Mouth Sores

Mouth sores can happen to anyone who wears traditional braces. If they become too much of a problem for you, you can always consider switching to Invisalign braces.

You can treat sores and remove pain from the inside of your mouth by using a topical anesthetic, such as Ora-Gel. It will relieve the pain, allowing you to forget about it and give it time to heal.

If the pain persists and the sores are not going away, call your orthodontist to figure out what might be causing the issue.

2. Discomfort or Pain

Being uncomfortable in braces is a normal experience, however, it should not be lasting you a long time. If you are constantly uncomfortable during the treatment, there is likely an underlying issue.

You can try rinsing your mouth out with warm salt water and taking a pain reliever. If the discomfort continues longer than a couple of days, call your orthodontist- there might be a hidden, larger problem.

3. The O-Ring is Lost

If you lose your o-ring or the tiny wire in place of it, the other wires can become loose. If it simply fell out, you might be able to reattach it yourself with a clean pair of tweezers. The o-ring is important to holding your braces together, so do not put off calling your orthodontist if something bad happens to it!

When it comes out, you might feel other wires poking your mouth. You can use a Q-tip to bend them down, as a way to temporarily keep them from stabbing you.

4. Mouth Irritation

If you find that the treatment is bothering your mouth often, there are a few steps you can take to feel better. Orthodontic relief wax goes a long way in keeping the metal away from your mouth.

All you need is a pea-sized ball of wax to squish over the area that is irritating you. Luckily, orthodontic relief wax is sold at many drug stores and can be found easily.

5. Dislocated Wires

Sometimes, you might find that the end of a wire has come loose and is poking the inside of your mouth. You can use a Q-tip to push the wire against your teeth, keeping it out of the way until you can have it adjusted.

If you are having trouble bending it into place, put a piece of that relief wax onto the wire. Always tell your orthodontist when this happens, as dislocated wiring can lead to other problems with the treatment.

6. Loose or Broken Brackets

If your bracket is loose or snapped, then you will want to try using the orthodontic relief wax to hold it in place until you can have it fixed. If the bracket has been loosened greatly and will not stay in position, you can take it with you to the orthodontist.

If you are missing the bracket entirely and have no idea where it went, then you might end up paying a fee to have it replaced! Do your best to keep track of it, although mistakes do happen.

7. Virtual Orthodontist Appointments

If you are having orthodontic issues with any form of treatment, be it Invisalign Teen, expanders, or anything in between- be sure to contact your orthodontist. A small, common problem can become more severe if you put off fixing it for too long.

Virtual orthodontic appoints are available for any of our patients. The appointment does not take long and is easy to schedule. Plus, you have the benefit of not leaving the comfort of your home for the appointment!

We need to be able to see the situation of your teeth through a camera on your device, then we can let you know what to do next, or if you need to come into the office so that we can fix your treatment.

Online appointments are designed to be easy and convenient for you, so do not be afraid to set one up if you run into any orthodontic problems! We are here to help you and want to ensure that your treatment process goes as smoothly as possible.

When is it an Emergency?

It can be hard to determine if you need to go into the office right away to have your braces fixed or if it will be alright to wait until your next appointment. The best thing to do is to call your orthodontist first. They will be able to determine if it is an emergency.

A good rule of thumb is if you are not in pain from loose wiring or a broken bracket, then you can probably wait to go in. However, it still would be in your best interest to contact a professional about your orthodontic issues before you wait too long.


If you are suffering from a common problem, you can likely fix it easily at home. However, there are some instances where you might want to schedule a virtual orthodontist appointment or call us right away.