December 17, 2021
Cuts in the mouth from braces don’t happen often. When they do, knowing how to handle them can mean the difference between a minor annoyance and a potentially serious problem. With new brackets and wires, cuts in the mouth from braces are rare, and they are non-existent with Invisalign®.
Bracket and Wire Design Avoids Cuts in the Mouth from Braces
The brackets for braces have undergone significant change in the last 50 years. Ceramic brackets made their first appearance in 1987, offering an alternative to traditional metal brackets. As technology has improved, bracket design has also become much smaller.
Design changes and improvements for people wearing traditional brackets and wire-style braces mean a less “brace face” look and less visibility. Ceramic brackets can be clear, which allows the natural color of teeth to show, or they can be tooth-colored to match a patient’s teeth.
The brackets or clips where the archwire connects and locks in are smaller and more rounded. This leads to fewer problems with rubbing against the soft tissue in the mouth. The locking mechanism is also more streamlined and less irritating with self-ligating brackets.
The result is that having braces isn’t nearly as irritating as it was even just a few years ago. This means that the brackets and wires are more comfortable and cause less mouth tenderness.
Quick Fixes You Can Perform Yourself
Emergencies happen. You forget that you have braces, chew on a carrot, and feel a “pop” in your mouth. You may have dislodged a bracket or broken the archwire on your braces. Don’t panic. We’ll help you build an emergency tool kit shortly.
Although you should contact the orthodontist office whenever you have issues with your hardware, there are a few things you can do to avoid getting cuts in the mouth from braces. These quick-fix solutions are temporary adjustments you can make. You’ll still need to visit your doctor as soon as possible, but these will keep you comfortable.
Loose or Dislodged Bracket
If the bracket is completely dislodged, and you can remove it from the archwire, do that. Place the bracket in a zippered plastic baggie (maybe rinse it first) and take it with you to the doctor for reattaching.
A loose bracket is a concern also. To secure the bracket and keep it from getting worse, grab your handy-dandy dental wax. Pull off a pea-sized nugget, then press it firmly around the bracket and archwire to hold the bracket in place.
When you break the archwire, it exposes a pointy end that can cause cuts in the mouth. The quickest trick is to use a new pencil eraser to gently bend the wire toward your tooth and away from the tender tissue. Use a tiny bit of dental wax to hold the wire down and protect the area from cuts.
If you cannot bend the wire back because it is too short, you can cover it with dental wax to protect your mouth. If you need to cut the wire, you can do that with a pair of clean fingernail clippers (we’ll explain more about this handy tool soon). Add some dental wax to the end of the wire to protect the soft tissue.
Before making any modification to your wire by bending or snipping it, please get in touch with the orthodontist’s office and discuss it with our staff. They may have additional pointers about fixing the problem. You will also be able to schedule an appointment for a more permanent correction.
Sore or Tender Areas
When you get braces, the inside of your mouth may take a short time to get used to the hardware. Your new braces may rub on the soft tissue inside your mouth during this period. This friction can cause minor areas of irritation to appear.
To ease the discomfort, apply dental wax to the bracket or brackets causing the irritation. This will cushion the bracket and keep it from causing cuts or raw spots. You can take over-the-counter pain medications to ease discomfort during this adjustment period.
First Aid for Cuts in the Mouth from Braces
Although infrequent, if you get cuts in the mouth from braces, knowing how to handle them will make your life more pleasant. The first rule is to keep up with your oral hygiene routine. That means regular brushing and flossing several times per day.
Dental floss and using it properly is your first and best defense against mouth and gum infections. If you have cuts in the mouth from braces, keeping your mouth clean is even more critical.
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To ease minor discomfort, mixing one teaspoon of salt with eight ounces of warm water and rinsing will help a lot. This swishes debris and food particles away from the cut and any raw spots. It also provides cleansing of wounds to promote healing. Because pain medications may increase bleeding, try to avoid them, but if you need relief, use them sparingly. Consult with your orthodontist also.
Cuts in the mouth from braces are just like any other cut and will take a few days to heal. The average healing period is around four days or more. Using dental wax over the brackets rubbing on raw spots will help them heal. Eventually, your mouth will become accustomed to the hardware and form thicker areas inside your mouth, much like a callous.
Making a Braces Emergency Response Kit
When you get your new braces, one of the first things you should do is make yourself an emergency kit. It doesn’t have to be fancy. You can keep the items in a small zippered baggie in your backpack, purse, or briefcase. The things you should include in your kit are:
- Dental wax.
- Interproximal brushes.
- Toothbrush and toothpaste.
- A new pencil with an unused eraser.
- Small fingernail clippers, sterilized with rubbing alcohol.
- Tweezers, sterilized with rubbing alcohol.
- Floss threaders.
All of these items will be useful in handling any braces emergency. You may add other things that you find helpful, or your technician may have a few more tips for you.
Don’t Forget to Call the Orthodontist
If you get cuts in the mouth from braces, have a broken wire, loose bracket, or any other problem, please contact the office at Michael Sokoloff Orthodontics. Although you can handle most emergencies on your own and cuts are a normal part of having braces, communication with the orthodontics team is integral to keeping your treatment on track.
For non-emergencies or to arrange for an appointment, you may use the online Contact form or the Appointment Request form. For a more immediate response, please don’t hesitate to call the office at (914) 949-0068.Tags: braces, clear braces, Cuts in the Mouth from Braces, Early Orthodontic Treatment, invisalign