Home Remedies for Common Braces Problems

If you’ve damaged your metal braces, you might not need to schedule an appointment with one of our Grand Rapids orthodontists. Many issues that come up during orthodontic treatment can be resolved at home with wax, tweezers, and nail clippers.

Continue reading to learn how to resolve tooth pain, cheek irritation, broken braces brackets, and more. A smile dentist in San Jose is also available to answer any questions you might have between appointments.

Tooth Pain after Adjustments

During the course of your orthodontic treatment, we’ll make slight adjustments to your braces to ensure your teeth and jaws move into optimal alignment. Since dental braces exert pressure on your teeth, you will feel slight pain or discomfort several hours after your appointment with us.

We recommend taking over-the-counter pain relievers (like ibuprofen) right before your appointment. That way, the pain reliever has a chance to work before we tighten your braces. It may also be a good idea to eat soft foods after your appointment, such as mashed potatoes or pasta. This can help minimize discomfort while you get used to the new adjustments.

Irritated Lips and Cheeks

After getting braces for the first time, we’ll give you some wax in case the brackets irritate your lips and cheeks. Simply pinch off a pea-sized piece of wax before squishing it between your fingers. Next, gently push the wax on top of the offending bracket. This will create a smooth barrier that prevents the bracket from causing irritation to your mouth’s soft tissues.

Sometimes your top or bottom archwire may be too long and poke the inside of your cheek at the very back of your mouth. Wax can also be used to cover the wire until we are able to trim it properly for you. Many of our patients use the Relief Wax before meals to avoid irritating the soft tissue in their mouths. Since the wax isn’t medicated, it’s harmless if accidentally swallowed.

Loose or Missing Elastic Ties

During orthodontic treatment, you’ll need to avoid sticky foods like caramel. Otherwise, the small elastic ties that hold the archwire in place can come loose or fall completely off their brackets. Our orthodontists recommend using tweezers to put elastic ties back. Carefully retrieve the elastic tie with tweezers and loop it around the bracket, securing the archwire in place.

Loose Brackets

If you play contact sports, let your family dentist know so they can create a protective mouthguard. A mouthguard for braces forms a protective layer around your teeth so you won’t need emergency dental care the next time you’re tackled on the football field. A bracket can also come loose after biting into hard foods, like whole apples and carrots.

Most patients don’t realize that a bracket is loose until they go to brush their teeth and notice that the bracket is off-center on the tooth. A loose bracket may also not be noticeable right away if you have ceramic braces, which are tooth-colored. If a bracket comes loose between appointments, you’ll need to schedule a separate time with one of our orthodontists. In the meantime, use tweezers to slide the bracket into its proper place. Next, you’ll need to gently push the bracket back against the tooth.

Protruding Wires

If you have a wire protruding off the end of your last bracket, use a small keychain nail clipper to trim the excess. We recommend using a folded tissue to isolate the piece of wire from your gums before trimming. If the excess wire isn’t long enough to trim, place a pea-sized piece of wax between the wire and your cheek. This will help to shield the area from irritation until you can visit our office for an adjustment.


Managing the common issues that arise with braces at home can save you time and reduce discomfort. However, if you encounter a problem that you cannot resolve on your own or if you’re unsure about the severity of an issue, don’t hesitate to reach out to a best dental implant dentist near me. Our staff is here to assist you and ensure that your orthodontic treatment progresses smoothly.