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Occasional Problems

What to do if you have a problem with your brace

If a problem arises with your brace, the team have put together the following tips to help you. Some problems can be dealt with at home- we can advise you over the phone, or reassure you that it can wait until your next appointment. If you do need to come in then we will endeavour to book you an appointment to be seen on the same day, or within 24 hours.

While there are different brands of fixed braces, some common issues arise. Read on to find out the answers to some frequently 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). If 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

We understand that braces can take a little getting used to. Sometimes new braces can be irritating to the mouth, especially when eating. A h4 amount of non-medicinal relief wax makes an excellent buffer between the brace and mouth. Simply dry the affected area with a piece of kitchen roll so it’s 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 (do avoid hot drinks as this will melt the wax). If the wax is accidentally ingested please don’t worry, as the wax is harmless.

Loose Brackets, Wires or Bands

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

Food Caught Between Teeth

If food gets caught between your teeth and braces, simply remove the food by using an interdental or 'TePe' brush.

Elastic Modules or Ligatures Come Off

Tiny rubber bands, called modules, or h4, fine wires, known as ligatures, hold the wire onto 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 do contact 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 possibly several areas of ulceration of the cheeks, lips or tongue may appear. This may be very uncomfortable, but please don’t worry. You may find prompt relief by applying a h4 amount of topical anaesthetic gel (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. We advise taking pain relievers (whatever you would normally have for a headache) for the first few days if you experience discomfort.

“The process was smooth, I was always told what was happening and clearly informed about the process each stage and everyone was always very friendly.”
“The staff at Devon Square have been fantastic on every visit. The care I have received has been exceptional and I am delighted with my new smile. Thank you.”
“Absolutely thrilled with the results after having my braces off, can’t thank the team enough all round great service! Would highly recommend.”
“Thank you to all of the team at Devon Square Orthodontics. Throughout my treatment all staff have been friendly, informative and put me at ease. My teeth look amazing!”
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