How to help with braces cuts or sores?

Kara

 

Kara Johansen BSRDH

If you have ever had braces you know that there are many annoying side effects of working towards a beautiful, healthy, straight smile. Often orthodontic problems that can be taken care of at home before you can make it to your orthodontist office. Here is a list of tips to help the fellow brace face 🙂

Newly tightened braces-

Each time you get your braces tightened it means one step closer to removing them. However, it does make your teeth ache. They can be sore for 3-5 days. One study stated that 91% of adolescents had tooth discomfort during the process of having braces. (1)

  • Before you go into have your teeth adjusted it has been suggested to take an ibuprofen. Remember to only take the medication as directed on the bottle. Take the ibuprofen with milk or food to avoid a stomach ache.
  • After the appointment stick with soft foods like soup or smoothies. Some have said that cool foods feel good on newly tightened teeth.
  • One study stated that chewing sugar free gum after the procedure can cause relief. Aspergum, which is a gum with a little bit of aspirin had a good response in pain reduction. (2)

Sores from braces

A common side effect of braces are cuts in the cheek or canker sores.

  • A warm salt water rinse works wonders. Put a teaspoon of salt into a warm glass of water then swish and spit.
  • Over the counter anesthetic gels have shown to give relief. Orabase or Oragel can help.
  • A tea bag can be placed over the sore to help with sensitivity and inflammation.

Wire pocking lips and gums-

Sometimes when you are eating or brushing a twisted wire can be moved out of place. Remember that lots of times this situation can be avoided with eating the proper foods recommended by your orthodontist. There are a couple of solutions for this predicament.

  • Flexible wires can slip out of the bracket slots on the back teeth. A sterile tweezer can be used to slip the wire into the tube and back into place.
  • You can use the end of a pencil eraser to push the out of place wire behind the arch wire to make it more comfortable. Only do this on softer wires.
  • Dental wax can also be used to be placed around the wire to protect your tissues until you can see your orthodontist to get it fixed.


orthowax

http://us-professional.gumbrand.com/gumr-orthodontic-wax-mint-with-vitamin-e-and-aloe.html

relief-wax-colored

http://www.dental-wax.com/

Loose bracket or band-

If a bracket or band becomes loose you can place wax over the area to hold it into place. If it falls off, save it for when you go back to your orthodontist.

Swollen or puffy gums-

Proper oral hygiene is very important when you have braces. Improper oral hygiene can cause weakening of the enamel (white/dark brown spots), permanent inflamed gums, bleeding gums, halitosis, and cavities.

  • Brush and floss after every meal. Most important is to brush and floss before you go to bed.
  • If you have swollen gums call your general dentist to get a cleaning. It is a good idea to have cleanings every 3 months when you have braces instead of every 6 months. Have your arch wire taken out before your cleanings.
  • Super Floss, floss threaders, interproximal brushes, and Platypus flossers are very helpful.
  • Electronic toothbrushes are a better choice for cleaning your teeth and braces then a manual tooth brush. Water picks are also helpful to remove food debris.

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www.oralb.com www.gumbrand.com www.PlatypusCo.com

 

Sources:

1. Attitudes and perceptions of adults towards orthodontic treatment in an Asian community. Lew KK Community Dent Oral Epidemiol. 1993 Feb; 21(1):31-5. [PubMed] [Ref list]

2. Proffit W R. Contemporary orthodontics. 3rd edn. St Louis: The CV Mosby Company; 2000. [Ref list]

3. http://www.orthocenters.org/emergency.php

Tongue Thrust

JW9(sm)

Julie West BS RDH

During your child’s dental exam, the hygienist and dentist will evaluate your child’s bite to see if the teeth align properly.  As your child’s adult teeth start to emerge, the dentist will determine if orthodontics are recommended.   Most children who get braces will have straight, aligned teeth in a year or two.  However, if your child has a tongue thrusting habit, they may be back in those braces before you know it.

Tongue thrusting habit is a condition in which the tongue makes contact with any teeth other than the molars during swallowing.  It is considered an orofacial myofunctional disorder.  Although a tongue thrust is normal in infancy, development moves the tongue upward to form the shape of the palate, and the tongue thrust usually decreases and disappears as a child grows.  If the tongue thrust continues, a child may look, speak, and swallow differently than other children the same ago.    Older children may become self-conscious about their appearance.

The tongue is a strong muscle, and its constant pressure on the back of the front teeth can cause them to protrude outward.  Over time, this may lead to the front teeth not touching in what is called an “open bite”.  Although orthodontics can correct this, if the habit is not stopped, the teeth will eventually move out again.  In fact, many orthodontists have families seek therapy to correct tongue thrust before braces are put on to ensure treatment is successful.

A child’s speech may also be affected by tongue thrust habit.  One study sampled a group of children, half with tongue thrust, half without, and found that 86% of the children with tongue thrust exhibited lisping as compared to 0% of the children without tongue thrust.  Research examining various populations found 38% have orofacial myofunctional disorders and an incidence of 81% has been found in children exhibiting speech/articulation problems.

A speech therapist, myofunctional therapist, orthodontist, and your dentist can all help correct this habit in your child and restore their occlusion

Below is a picture of a child with tongue thrust and an open bite:

Tongue Thrust

Image source: healthline24x7.com

For more information on tongue thrust, please visit: http://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/OMD.htm

And ask your dentist or hygienist at your child’s next appointment!

 

 

Source:

Dixit UB, Shetty RM. Comparison of soft-tissue, dental, and skeletal characteristics in children with and without tongue thrusting habit. Contemp Clin Dent 2013;4:2-6

Quick Relief for the Constant Canker Sore

It’s no secret that at least everyone has gotten a few canker sores in their lifetime. Have you ever had that period of time where you just cannot seem to get rid of a canker sore? Or you just keep getting them? Well, as I’ve mentioned in my previous blog, I was an orthodontic patient for 3 years. If you’ve ever had braces, you know the drill with the canker sores. Your braces just love to cut you, and canker sores just LOVE to appear everywhere they possibly can. I was so annoyed with my mouth, that I tried every possible way I could to get rid of them. Allow me to walk you through my journey of canker sore relief.

To start, canker sores are small lesions that develop on the soft tissues in your mouth, or at the base of your gums. You can have 2 different types of canker sores; simple, or complex. Simple canker sores may appear three or four times a year and last up to a week. Complex canker sores are less common than simple, and occur more often in people who have previously had them. Unlike cold sores, canker sores are not contagious. A lot of people confuse canker sores with cold sores when in reality, they are very different. The exact cause of a canker sore is unknown, while some say that it could be caused b stress, or injury to your tissue in your mouth. So for example, if you were a cheek biter and lip biter like I was, canker sores will come very easily to your mouth. The constant chewing damages the tissue, leaving room for canker sores to “grow.”

When I was younger, I remember getting the occasional canker sore here and there, nothing big. I would wait for a few days, they would go away. But, when I had my braces put on, it was like I was getting a new canker sore every other day! It was awful. I wasn’t just getting them on my gums, or cheeks, but I was also getting them on my tongue. I tried everything. I went to Walgreens and got every canker sore cream they owned. Nothing would ever help me. I tried everything from orajel, to canker care. It would relieve them, and make them smaller, but I would feel like they would never heel, or new ones would always be sprouting different places in my mouth. I finally made the trip to my dentist after I couldn’t stand them anymore. This was when I had braces, so it’s really hard to clean the gum tissue around my braces. And it was also really hard for me to clean the food out of my teeth really well, which was also part of the problem. When I would eat acidic food, it would stay in my teeth, and because my cheeks would always be damaged due to the braces, it would result in canker sores…everywhere. Well, I started to change my diet, be more thorough with my cleaning, and floss. What do you know? My canker sores started becoming less and less! It was amazing, I was so happy. Doing a really detailed job on cleaning my teeth have now become a habit I never intend to break.

My canker sore journey doesn’t end there, even after my braces were off, I continued to get canker sores. I was furious! I marched right back to Walgreens and started from square 1. All of those creams and gels still did nothing for me. I didn’t want to go to my doctor again, knowing he would just tell me the same thing again. I decided to take matters into my own hands. I started to Google things, and tried all of these ridiculous home remedies….until I found one remedy that was no longer ridiculous. Are you ready for it? Warm salt water. Who knew? It worked miracles. I would swish warm salt water in my mouth twice a day, and within one day, I was feeling the canker sores go down, and I had little pain, and I was able to eat salty things again. After about 3 days of warm salt water, my mouth was canker sore free. I was one happy lady. It just blew my mind that the simplest of things helped me so much. This is what I recommend to everyone out there suffering from canker sores. The salt helps fight the infection and the pain, and inflammation, whereas the warm water helps ease the pain.

Every time I feel a canker sore coming on, I grab that salt water, and gargle and I’m feeling better the next day. It is the only thing I trust when it comes to my canker sores! I recommend it to everyone who has the same problem as I do.sorecanker