There are a few problems that sometimes occur while in treatment. Here are some quick fixes you can do to relieve pain until we can fix it in the office.
We call this a “poker.” It usually occurs when the teeth move a significant amount closing spaces or taking up less space in the arch, making the wire now too long. This is a good thing because it means you are progressing in your treatment. Until you can come in for us to clip the wire, put a small ball of wax on the tip of the wire that is poking you. If you use too big a ball of wax it will not stay on the wire. This will keep the wire from scratching your cheek or gums.
The brackets are the little metal, or ceramic, buttons glued to the center of each tooth. Sometimes they break if force is applied to them, like if you bite into an apple without cutting it up first or you chew on the end of a pencil. The bracket will probably stay attached to the wire so it will slide around or spin on the arch wire. If its movement is rubbing against your lips or cheeks, press a small ball of wax onto the surface of the bracket. Even if it continues to move around, it will not scratch the inside of your mouth. Make an appoint to have the bracket glued back on as soon as possible. Only Dr. Speck can glue a bracket to a tooth, but an assistant can remove it if you wish. The tooth will not continue to progressively move until the bracket is re-glued.
Sometimes cheerios, the elastic o-rings holding the wire to the brackets, may come off. If you notice any cheerios missing, call our office so we can schedule an appointment to replace them. Without the cheerios in place, the arch wire or a portion of it may pop out. Occasionally, there will be one bracket that will not have a cheerio on it when you leave our office. This is because the cheerio may not fit over the elastic hooks, wires, or other appliances being used to move your teeth a certain way. If you are unsure if a cheerio is missing intentionally or fell off, call us and ask. We will be happy to find out so we can replace the cheerio for you, or save you the trip if no cheerio was necessary.
Spacers Fall Out
There are two reasons why spacers may fall out. The first is because the space has formed and the tension holding the spacer is gone. This is good! We will have no problem placing the appliance that needed the extra space. But if the spacer falls out because something sticky was eaten, then we need to replace the spacer right away. The space may close up, making it hard to place the appliance. We do not want to hurt our patients, so call us as soon as you notice the spacer is missing!