According to the American Association of Orthodontists, over four million Americans wear braces. The dental braces we know today date back over a century—and despite newer options like Invisalign, they remain largely popular.
Unfortunately, braces do present minor problems sometimes. There are easy home remedies you can use to alleviate some of them, while others might require a quick trip to the family dentist.
To help you decide what to do, we’ve outlined some of the most common problems you might face while wearing braces—as well as fixes for them.
It’s common for patients to experience soreness for a few days after getting braces. Generally, soreness can be relieved by placing a cold compress against your cheek for 5-10 minutes at a time.
Another technique you can use is rinsing your mouth with a mixture of salt and water. Take one glass of lukewarm water and add a teaspoon of salt to it; rinse your mouth vigorously with the solution. You can also use over the counter pain medication, such as Tylenol, unless your doctor has specified otherwise.
It’s common to experience stained teeth while wearing braces. Often, food gets stuck in the braces, and it’s difficult to remove it immediately. This causes the area around the bracket to become discolored.
Staining is usually more of an issue when a person’s braces come off—because that’s when you might see a white square where the bracket once used to be. For this, we generally recommend a teeth whitening procedure once the braces come off.
Unfortunately, bad breath is one of the most common complaints we get. Poor oral hygiene, combined with bad eating habits, contributes to halitosis. For people wearing braces, it is much harder to clean their teeth, which is why they experience this issue frequently.
The only remedy for bad breath is maintaining good oral hygiene. Additionally, you can avoid certain foods like garlic and onions, that have strong odors. To mask the smell, you can use mouth wash or chew flavored gum.
The bracket in your braces is attached to the enamel of your teeth. Biting into something hard or sticky and cause the bracket to become loose or even break. This can cause severe pain in your mouth.
Schedule an appointment with your dentist immediately if this happens. To reduce mouth irritation, apply wax to the area and try to keep the bracket as it is until the doctor can examine it.
A loose band will also require a trip to the dentist as early as possible. If the band or the bracket comes out, keep it in a safe place and take it with you to your next appointment.
A minor break in the wire can often be dealt with at home. Take a pair of clean, sterilized tweezers and push the wire back into place. If you’re unable to do that, apply dental wax to the region to relieve any discomfort. If the entire wire breaks or comes off, schedule an emergency appointment with your dentist.
If you’re thinking about getting braces or Invisalign, Bethesda Dental Health offers family dentistry in Bethesda, MD. The team is spearheaded by award-winning dentist Dr. Sheida Larijani, who is one of the best dentists in Bethesda.
To schedule an appointment, call (301) 654-1887 or visit our website.