Here is a short list of common orthodontic problems and possible solutions.

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Missing Separators “Spacer”

It is quite common for patients to lose at least one separator during the process that prepares your mouth for braces. If the spacer falls out, be sure to call our office as soon as possible! It is essential that we replace your missing separator immediately, to keep your orthodontic treatment on schedule.

Sometimes the spacer can be put back in place by the patient or their parent. Try taking two pieces of dental floss and inserting them through the spacer. Pull on both pieces of floss to stretch the spacer, and then slide the spacer back and forth between the two teeth where it belongs. Once the bottom half of the spacer slips under the tight spot between the teeth, release and remove the floss and the spacer will fit back properly.

Loose Bands or Brackets

If a band or bracket becomes loose, it usually remains connected to the main wire by a little rubber-colored ring. Eyebrow tweezers can be used to reposition the brace if it flips around the wire and becomes a source of irritation. Call our office and inform us of your situation.

A loose bracket can mean losing valuable treatment time. Please call us so we can decide whether we need to see you now or add extra time to your already scheduled appointment. This is not usually a true emergency and will be corrected during normal business hours unless the patient is in pain.

Irritation of Wires

If a wire on your braces is causing irritation, try gently pushing it away out of the way with the eraser end of a pencil or a Q-tip. If the wire cannot be tucked away, cover the end with a piece of wax until you can come in and have it looked at. Cutting the wire should only be done as a last resort if professional help is unavailable.

Please call our office as soon as possible to schedule an appointment to fix the problem. If the main wire has come out of the tube on your back molar tooth, attempt to reinsert the wire with a pair of needle-nosed pliers or tweezers. If the wire is not sticking you, place a piece of wax over the area. If the wire is sticking you and wax does not help, the wire can be cut with a small wire cutter or toenail clipper close to the back of the last brace. This is a last resort if professional help is unavailable.

Instructions for a Lost or Broken Retainer

If you have a lost or broken retainer, make sure you contact our office as soon as possible. Please do not delay. In most cases, we will need to take a new impression to either repair or remake your retainer. Make sure you set up a retainer replacement appointment within two to three days of losing or breaking your retainer to prevent your teeth from shifting back to their previous positions.

When your teeth are just settling into their new, healthy, and straight positions, your retainer is essential to maintain the smile achieved by your braces. Later, it will continue to support your teeth. Wearing and taking good care of your retainer is just as important as wearing your braces.