Self-Help Guide

Lost Separators

If a separator falls out and you know where it came from, take a piece of dental floss and attempt to pass it between the teeth. If it passes easily and it is only a couple of days until the banding appointment, then no action is required. If the floss is tight between the teeth, then you need to come in and have the separator replaced.

Teeth Soreness

It is common for separators, braces, or new wires to cause soreness. Taking Tylenol or Advil before or after an adjustment appointment is helpful. Normally, any pain only lasts for a day or two.

Irritated cheeks, lips, tongue or gums: Brackets and bands on the teeth are rough at first and may cause the soft tissue in your mouth to become sore. Usually the tissues toughen (like calluses) over time, but in the meantime, some soft wax smoothed over the offending bracket will help. You may also use warm salt water or OTC ointments like Orabase to help with irritation.

Poking wires

If the end of the archwire becomes too long and pokes your cheek, call our office to make an emergency appointment to correct the problem. If our offices are closed, you can try covering the end of the wire with soft wax. If this does not work then you may try to cut it with a pair of finger nail clippers. If a ligature wire (small twisted wire around the bracket) is poking you use a pencil eraser to bend it in toward the gums. Wax may help in this situation as well.


We will be happy to provide a mouth guard to protect you against sports injuries. Mouth guards can also be worn while sleeping to protect your teeth from the damage caused by tooth grinding. If you have an accident and teeth are displaced please see the emergency section of this website or call our office for emergency instructions.

Loosening of teeth

Loosening of teeth is necessary throughout treatment so they can move into their proper positions. This is normal and should not cause any distress. Teeth will become firm following the removal of the braces.

Loose band or bracket

Occasionally bands or brackets become loose, but do not be alarmed. If a loose bracket hurts or bothers you soft wax can be placed on it. Usually there is no need for immediate repair unless the bracket is on a front tooth, in which case you should call for an appointment. If an appliance attaches to a band (headgear, lip bumper or bite plate) please bring that appliance with you so we can repair it at the next appointment.

Running out of rubber bands

If you run out of rubber bands or lose them we will be happy to mail you some, or you can stop by and pick some up. Please don’t wait until your next appointment to take action.

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