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irritating braces

Having braces can be a painful affair, particularly after a tightening adjustment or when sharp, irritating wires lash into your tongue or the sides of your mouth.

Luckily, there are several ways to manage the pain and irritation caused by these wires.

Always have orthodontic wax on hand

Your orthodontist’s office may provide you with some orthodontic wax, or you can acquire some at most drugstores. This wax comes in a small case in long, cylindrical strips. Tear off a small amount and roll it into a ball between your fingers, then push the wax against the end of the sharp wire, molding the wax into place. The soft wax provides a barrier between the wire and your mouth.

For the best results, ensure that your hands and your braces are both dry and clean before applying wax.

Treat any sores caused by poking wires with a saltwater rinse and anti-bacterial mouthwash

Mix some salt with warm water, then rinse your mouth with this mixture several times a day. This will not only soothe any wounds caused by irritating wires, but it may also help to prevent infection. For additional protection, swish with antibacterial mouthwash in order to keep your mouth clean while you have open abrasions.

Utilize an oral gel anesthetic to numb the pain caused by sharp wires

There are many products available over the counter at most drugstores which can provide relief from pain due to sharp braces wires. If sharp wires have caused sores on the inside of your mouth or on your tongue, apply this soothing gel to the area. The medication will numb the irritated areas and provide relief until you can speak to your orthodontist about adjusting the offending wire for more permanent comfort.

Avoid difficult foods until your cuts have healed and you’ve fixed the wire

The act of eating often makes it even more difficult to manage the pain caused by a sharp and poking braces wire, particularly if the food is hard or chewy and requires excessive mouth movement. Until you are able to fix the wire, stick to softer foods that lack salt, citrus, or other ingredients which may irritate existing sores.

Try using the blunt head of a pencil eraser or tweezers to bend the offending wire

If you’re in need of an immediate fix for a stubborn, irritating wire, there are a few ways you can attempt to bend it back into place on your own. If a thin wire is causing the problem, use a clean pencil eraser to gently push the wire into a position that doesn’t cause you discomfort. If the archwire is at fault, you might want to use a pair of (clean) tweezers to insert the wire back into the bracket. Wax will help you keep this adjustment in place if necessary.

While the above techniques offer temporary fixes for bothersome braces wires, the best way to fix an irritating wire is to let your orthodontist’s office know that you’re having a problem. Experts onsite will be able to bend the wire away from the sensitive sides of your mouth or make any necessary replacements to the hardware of your braces for future prevention.