girl with braces

Common Problems with Braces and How to Fix Them

Traditional metal braces have been around for decades, but that doesn’t mean they’re antiquated. Today’s metal braces are better than ever, made with advanced materials that help us move teeth more efficiently and predictably. Although the latest technology makes problems with braces less frequent, there are still some issues that can pop up now and then. Here’s how to fix them when they occur.

Broken Bracket

This is one of the most common problems with braces. Sometimes, it’s because you’ve eaten something you shouldn’t. Other times, it just happens with no explanation. Most orthodontic patients experience a few broken brackets during their treatment. There’s no at-home solution for this—you’ll need to come to our office to have it cemented back into place. Make sure you make the appointment as soon as possible, as not replacing broken brackets in a timely manner can extend your treatment length.

In the meantime, if the bracket is still attached to the arch wire, you can leave it in place. Otherwise, bring the bracket with you to your appointment.


After getting your braces and after having your wires tightened, your teeth are likely to be sore. This discomfort can last anywhere from a few hours after your appointment to a few days. Over-the-counter pain relievers are usually all that is needed to ease the pain.

Missing Elastic

The elastics used to attach the archwire to your braces are strong and secure, but occasionally they can snap off, especially if you’re attempting to clean around them. They can often be replaced using a pair of tweezers, but if you don’t have spare elastics at home, you’ll need to make an appointment to get it replaced.

Mouth Sores

When you first get your braces, you may develop some sores where your brackets rub against your cheeks and the insides of your lips. This irritation will go away with time as your mouth adjusts to the braces. In the meantime, a topical anesthetic like Orajel and dental wax applied to the bracket can help.

Wire Issues

If your wire is poking your cheek and causing a great deal of irritation, it has probably shifted. You can try to use tweezers or a small pair of pliers to move it back into place. If the wire seems to be where it should be, use a pencil eraser to push the end of the wire that’s poking you towards your teeth and away from your cheek, or place a small amount of dental wax on the part that’s poking you. Call us to let us know about the issue and we’ll determine whether you should come in for an adjustment or if it can wait until your next scheduled appointment.

Sometimes, a wire may pop out altogether. They can usually be put back into place with tweezers or pliers, but again: call our office for instructions.

Schedule an Appointment

If there’s a problem with your braces and you need assistance, contact us at 925-735-1515.