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Occasional Problems

What to do if you have a problem with your brace.

If you have a problem with your brace and need an appointment to be seen, please contact us in the morning and we will aim to book you an appointment to be seen on the same day or within 24 hours. Please be aware some brace problems can be dealt with at home or are ok to wait until your next appointment.  

While there are different brands of fixed braces, common issues crop up. Read on to find out the answers to some commonly asked questions which arise for patients in fixed braces……

Protruding Wire

Occasionally, the end of a wire will work itself out of place and irritate the mouth. If the wire cannot be moved into a comfortable position, cover it with relief wax (see irritation of lips or cheeks for instructions on applying wax). In a situation where the wire is causing extreme pain and you are not able to see the Orthodontist soon, you may, as a last resort, cut the wire using a pair of nail clippers. To reduce the possibility of swallowing the snipped piece of wire, use a folded tissue or gauze around the area. Use a pair of sharp nail scissors or clippers to snip off the protruding wire. Relief wax may still be necessary to provide comfort to the irritated area.


Irritation of Lips or Cheeks

Sometimes new braces can be irritating to the mouth, especially when eating. A small amount of non-medicinal relief wax makes an excellent buffer between brace and mouth. Simply dry the affected area with a piece of kitchen roll so it is free from saliva and place a pea sized amount of comfort wax over the area of the brace which is causing irritation. Eating will then become more comfortable (avoid hot drinks as this will melt the wax). If the wax is accidentally ingested, it’s not a problem as the wax is harmless

Loose Brackets, Wires or Bands

If any problems occur with your brace e.g. loose bracket (metal square), wire catching. Please contact the practice and we will advise you over the phone if an appointment is required, or if its ok to leave until your next rountine visit.  Please keep hold of any broken brackets and bring them with you to your next appointment.


Food Caught Between Teeth

Should food get caught between your teeth and braces simply remove the food by using an interdental or 'TePe' brush .

Ligatures Come Off

Tiny rubber bands or small, fine wires, known as ligatures, hold the wire to the bracket. If a rubber ligature should come off, you may be able to put it back in place using clean tweezers. If a wire ligature comes loose, simply remove it with tweezers. If the wire ligature is sticking out into the lip but is not loose, it can be bent back down with a cotton bud or pencil eraser to eliminate the irritation. When one ligature pops off or breaks, others may follow. Examine all ligatures adjacent to the missing ligature. Please notify us to check whether the ligature needs to be replaced.

Mouth Sores

Some patients are susceptible to episodes of mouth sores. While braces do not cause them, they may be made worse by an irritation from braces. One or several areas of ulceration of the cheeks, lips or tongue may appear. This is not an emergency, but may be very uncomfortable. Prompt relief may be achieved by applying a small amount of topical anaesthetic (such as Bongela® or Brace Relief) directly to the ulcerated surface using a cotton swab. Re-apply this when needed or as directed by the instructions on the product.


It is quite normal to experience discomfort for a day or two after braces or retainers are fitted/adjusted. It can make eating uncomfortable - the discomfort is both normal and temporary. Keep to eating soft foods. The use of a painkiller (whatever you would normally have for a headache) is advised for the first few days if discomfort is experienced.