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Please refer to the folder you were given at the start of treatment to supplement this web page.

Lip Pain

Braces tend to irritate the lips and cheeks in the first few weeks. Lips get drier and sometimes start to bleed. Apply a lubricant such as Vaseline or Chap Stick to the lips, and place wax on the pokey parts to protect the lips and cheeks from sharp edges. If soreness lasts more than a few days and wax does not help, call us and ask whether an early appointment should be scheduled.

Tooth Pain

Whenever pressure is applied to the teeth, you may feel some tenderness which usually persists for 2-3 days. The intensity and duration of the discomfort will vary with each patient. If you feel an unusual amount of pain or discomfort and it is increasing rather than diminishing, call the office (616 392 1435) for guidance or an additional evaluation.

Allergic Symptoms

Although uncommon, allergies to brackets or other metal appliances and sometimes even to latex gloves do occur. If allergic symptoms such as inflammation and skin rashes appear, you should call contact our office as soon as possible.

Broken Herbst

The Herbst is a complex orthodontic appliance that is subject to significant stresses. We have put together an entire brochure for handling the Herbst appliance. The main issue is to become functional with a broken Herbst. If an upper crown loosens or the arm breaks, you can unscrew the lower arm off the crown with a hex head wrench. Keep the parts and call the office to repair the broken parts. If the lower crown, arm or piston breaks it can be difficult to access the upper screw to remove it. An extra visit may be necessary to restore function. If there is a problem after usual office hours we may need to restore function with an after hours extra visit and secondarily replace broken parts that require special laboratory work during regular office hours.

Bent and Broken Appliances

Orthodontic appliances are designed to move teeth in all directions. Sometimes teeth will move in a direction that seems to be wrong. Be patient. Usually this happens when tooth movement has just begun and only one direction of movement can be seen. Undesired tooth movement can occur also when brackets come off, when the force being applied is too strong, or when wires are bent and damaged. If your teeth appear to be moving wrong call us. It is much better to resolve a small issue than to reverse a bigger problem.

If a broken appliance can be easily removed, take it out and bring it in. If not, cover the sharp, irritating parts with wax or chewing gum. However, when a wire is sticking out, wax does not help and you can’t function, call the office. If professional assistance is not available, the wire can be cut with a small wire cutter. A broken appliance that does not cause any irritation does not usually require immediate attention.

Gum Concerns

If oral hygiene is not properly maintained during orthodontic treatment, the gums will become swollen and start to bleed. Special care, including additional brushing instruction and rinsing with anti-microbial or Fluoride rinses, usually helps return the gums to a healthy condition. Use dental floss and supplemental brushes to remove food stuck between your teeth.

Puffy, red and bleeding gums are always a problem which must be addressed. Check out the cooperation section on brushing.

Removable Appliance,

To simplify treatment and home care Dr Oppenhuizen minimizes the use of removable devices. A removable device that does not seem to fit or has broken needs to be evaluated.

Swallowed part of your appliance

It will usually pass through your digestive system and out of your body. However, if you have difficulties in breathing, you should seek immediate medical help.

Loose or Broken Devices

When a part of your appliances is broken it isn’t working properly any more. Always contact the office to inform us of the problem even if you are scheduled for an appointment that day. We can most efficiently resolve the problem and reduce your time at the office if we know in advance. Don’t simply ignore a broken part of your braces. On the weekend a message can be left on the answering machine. Immediate attention is only essential when the patient is in pain or unable to function.

If the main arch wire (which connects all the teeth) is broken, try to move it so it is comfortable and phone the office for an appointment. If it is not possible to make it comfortable and you are unable to come to the office immediately, please cut the wire as close as possible to the nearest bracket it is still secured to (use a small wire cutter or fingernail clipper).

To prevent irritation, use wax. Your teeth need to be clean for the wax to stick. Please remember to dry off the area first so the wax will stick better. Open the wax container, take out a small piece of wax, and apply it directly to the irritating part of the appliance. Press gently and smooth it out with your finger. You should continue brushing your teeth and brackets even when you have wax in your mouth. Remember, wax is harmless and can be applied as often as necessary. Do not worry if you swallow it.

Poking Wire or Band

Use the wax we have provided to cover the irritating part and call the office for an appointment. Most of the time wax will smooth the offending area and works very well until the wire can be cut. If you do not have wax with you, sugarless chewing gum can work. Sometimes the eraser end of a pencil can be used to push a small poking wire back into place.