10 Common Problems With Braces

Having braces is a difficult and long procedure, and during orthodontic treatment, sometimes we can encounter some complications. Here below is a list with ten of the most common ones.

1. Problem with braces: tooth sensitivity

Aside from a strong, sometimes painful pulling sensation of the teeth, there is also another problem that is usually around in the beginning of orthodontic treatment, and can recur after every single brace activation session: the problem of tooth sensitivity. The teeth and gums may be more sensitive to tactile sensations and changes in temperature right after activations. The easiest thing to do is to take a mild painkiller, or better yet, a topical ointment like anise extract that will desensitise your teeth and gums for a short period of time. Just keep applying as necessary!

2. Problem with braces: Damage to the inside of the cheek

The wire of the orthodontic device, as well as the brackets may be too harsh for the inside of the mouth of some patients. In these cases, you may experience damage to the inside of the cheek, and to other soft tissues in the mouth. This should dissipate in time, but if it doesn’t, use the wax! Apply a layer of orthodontic wax on the part of the braces that are offending your cheek or other soft tissues, and you should not be chaffed or otherwise hurt again.

3. Problem with braces: Chapped lips

Your lips can become chapped form orthodontic treatment for two main reasons. One is that they may dry out because of orthodontic treatment, and the other is because the device itself may actually be irritating or damaging your lips. If your lips are drying out, that is because they may be open more, because your teeth feel bigger, and you may be keeping your lips open more. This will change overtime, as you get used to the device being on your teeth. If your braces is actually touching your lips and chaffing them, then you may need to talk to your dentist, to see what can be done to remedy the situation.

4. Problem with braces: tongue issues

Your tongue may become affected by the device being in the mouth, especially if you have a lingual device. The tongue can get shredded on the brackets, can get poked on the wires, and can be irritated and chaffed from touching the device all the time. Your tongue will just have to get used to the device, and you will find ways of eating, chewing and speaking that will force you to get around the braces.

5. Problem with braces: Broken Archwire

The archwire is the main wiring that goes through the brackets. This wire is constantly under pressure, and can break from being twisted and pulled all the time. In these cases, the broken ends of the wire will be sharp, and can poke your gums, cheek, tongue and lips as well. Aside from being uncomfortable and contributing to infections in the mouth, this is a problem because it means that the teeth are not being pushed or pulled in the proper direction with the intended force, and this can lead to problems and delays in treatment. Put a tiny cotton swab or a dollop of orthodontic wax on the pointy bits of wire, and call your orthodontist for an appointment immediately.

6. Problem with braces:  Ligaments

Ligatures are the tiny elastics and other extra bits connected to the braces that aren’t the brackets or the archwire. They can be made of metal or of elastics, but they almost always can come off, and be swallowed. If you swallow them, not to worry, but definitely book an appointment with your orthodontist to get them replaced.     

7. Problem with braces:  Inflamed gums

Orthodontics work by keeping your bones and gums in a constant state of inflammation, this is why the teeth can move about more easily during this time. But sometimes the gums can become so inflamed that they make orthodontic treatment more difficult, like when the swelling of the gums can actually block the path of the teeth or the device can start hurting the inflamed gums, or the gums can recede so far that too much of the tooth is exposed. In these cases, go and consult your orthodontist. Sometimes orthodontic treatment may need to be postponed, and the gums may need to be cleaned out and treated before continuing, but some amount of inflammation is quite normal and all within the realms of a properly functioning orthodontic treatment.     

8. Problem with braces: Speech impediments

Orthodontic treatment can leave you with a temporary speech impediment. This may go away with time, and the speech impediment may be just a temporary setback, and you may find yourself finding new ways to pronounce things properly and thus go around your newly found speech impediment. But some speech impediments do not go away until after the braces come off. This is unfortunate, but in these cases the speech impediment must be accepted and endured until the end of orthodontic treatment. Please note that the speech impediment may endure for a few days or even weeks after the braces come off, and you may find that it takes some time for things to return to normal. Be patient.     

9. Problem with braces:  Jaw pain

Orthodontic treatment may leave you with pain in your jawbones, from where the teeth are being pulled and pushed. If you are experiencing jaw pain, know that it is completely normal, and you should be fine. Usually jaw pain starts at activation, any sort of pain that happens well after activation and starts out small and grows is very suspicious, and requires a medical professional to look at it. If your TMJ hurts, than something is very wrong, and the orthodontic treatment is almost certainly not reaching its intended effect.

10. Problem with braces: Mobile teeth

During orthodontic treatment, your teeth will become mobile, and will stay so for some time after the treatment has ended. This is one of the reasons why retainers need to be worn. During the time directly after your orthodontic treatment, try eating only soft foods until your teeth are completely set in their new position and are not mobile anymore.    

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