John G Plummer & Assosiates Dental Surgeons


NHS Dental Care

Orthodontic Homecare

Occasionally minor orthodontics problems occur. Some of these can be remedied by yourself.

Orthodontic Emergencies
During Surgery Hours

Please contact our practices.

Outside Surgery Hours

If you have a GENUINE EMERGENCY (i.e. pain that cannot wait to be treated or a wire digging in - not just a broken brace) outside of practice hours, you can call the following:

  • NHS Direct 111
  • NHS Direct Interactive on digital satellite TV
  • Norfolk and Waveney PCT 01502 719500
  • PALS 01603 28035/36

Below you will find a list of some of the more common problems that may occur during orthodontic treatment and what you should do.

Gaps may appear between your teeth during your treatment, this is quite normal. All gaps will be closed prior to the end of the treatment.

General Soreness
It is common and normal to experience some soreness during orthodontic treatment. This can last three to four days after an adjustment. To alleviate discomfort, we recommend that patients eat softer foods and rinse after each meal. Pain relievers may also help. The discomfort will vary from patient to patient. It can make eating uncomfortable. Eat soft foods and rinse the mouth with warm salt water to soothe the discomfort.

Food caught between the teeth
This is not an emergency, but can be a little uncomfortable or embarrassing. It can easily be fixed by using a piece of dental floss to remove the food or use an interdental brush to dislodge the food caught between the teeth and braces.

Ligatures come off
Ligatures are the small rubber bands or small, fine wires that hold the wire to the bracket. If a ligature comes off, you may be able to put it back in place by using sterile tweezers. You can also remove it with sterile tweezers. If the wire ligature is sticking into the lip, it may be bent back down with a pencil eraser to eliminate the irritation. When a ligature pops off or breaks, others may follow. Missing or broken ligatures should be brought to the attention of the orthodontist.

Mouth Sores
Some patients are susceptible to episodes of mouth sores. While braces do not cause them, they may be precipitated by an irritation from braces. These acn occur in several areas such as cheeks, lips or the tongue. This is not an emergency, but may be uncomfortable for the patient. If warm salt water does not help, you can ask your pharmacist for over the counter medication that can be applied to the ulcerated surface.

Braces rubbing against Lips or Cheeks
Sometimes new braces can be irritating to the mouth, especially when eating. A small amount of relief wax is an excellent seperator between metal and mouth. Roll a small piece of wax into a ball (size of a small pea), flatten the ball and place it completely over the area of irritation. It is not a problem if the wax is accidentally swallowed, as it is harmless.

Orthodontic appliances can be damaged when a patient sustains injury to the face or mouth. Call for an appointment if the teeth feel loose or if the appliance is broken. If you choose, we can create a customized mouthguard to protect your teeth and appliances during contact sports.

Protruding wire
The end of a wire might work itself out of place and cause irritation. Use a pencil eraser to push the wire so that it is flat against the tooth. If the wire cannot be moved into a comfortable position, cover it with relief wax. The Orthodontist will have to be made aware of the problem. Relief wax may still be needed to provide comfort to the irritated area.

Loose bands, brackets or wires
Brackets are the parts of braces attached to the teeth with a special cement and are generally positioned in the centre of each tooth. The bracket can be knocked off if the patient has eaten one of those hard or crunchy foods orthodontic patients are instructed to avoid. If the loose bracket has rotated on the wire and is sticking out, you can do a temporary fix to alleviate discomfort and prevent further damage, but take care to prevent swallowing or other injury. To put the bracket back in place, use sterile tweezers to slide the bracket along the wire until it is between two teeth. Rotate the bracket back to the proper position, then slide it back to the centre of the tooth. Call the surgery to arrange for an appointment.

Lost seperator
You can avoid loosing spaces by avoiding sticky foods and temporarily avoiding flossing between the teeth that has the spaces. This is not a problem and can wait till you see the orthodontist next time.

Sore Gums
It is very important to keep your teeth and gums free of plaque and food debris during orthodontic treatment and having regular dental checkups and cleanings by your family dentist. Poor oral hygiene may result in swollen and bleeding gum tissue. Please contact your family dentist should you experience swollen gums. Gentle and thorough brushing, rinsing with warm salt water and mouthwash will help temporarily before you see your family dentist. Also, using dental floss to check the swollen area to see if food debris may be trapped under a band or bracket is helpful. Orthodontic tooth movement may also cause swollen gums.