Due to the high risks of spreading Coronavirus and in line with the rest of the world, all UK dentists have been advised against carrying out any routine treatments or checks on all patients—including orthodontic patients—unless they are in severe pain.  Below are some common problems that can easily be solved without an emergency visit.  If still in doubt after reading the following information, please do not hesitate to contact our team who can assist further.

Painful Brace

  • If part of the brace is causing irritation or rubbing, use the wax provided to cover the part that is causing discomfort. We can post or arrange collection of more wax if needed.
  • If some or all of the teeth are uncomfortable this is likely to be due to the forces of the brace and the ongoing pressure on the teeth, as well as changes in the bite. Often these will settle within a few days and may vary in location.  It may be useful to take paracetamol to ease any discomfort.
  • If the wire has come out of the last the bracket you may be able to push it back in with your fingers or a clean pair of tweezers. If this is not possible the wire can usually be cut shorter with a pair of nail clippers.
  • If the wire is poking out of the end of the bracket and rubbing into the cheek this is likely to be due to the teeth straightening out, and again can either be covered with wax or if long enough, cut short with nail clippers.
  • If a wire ligature (“Quick tie” or “metal tie”) is poking into the lip or cheek it can usually be pushed back towards the brace with the tip of a cotton bud.

Loose Bracket

  • If a bracket is loose but still attached to the wire, it can usually be twisted round to face against the tooth by gently pulling on the wire with one finger and spinning the bracket to lay flat against the tooth with another finger. Alternatively if this is not possible or the bracket is poking into the lip or cheek, then the small band around the tooth (or “donut”) can be carefully pulled off with the end of a paperclip, after which the bracket can be completely removed.
  • If the bracket has come off completely this can be replaced once the authorities have declared it safe to see patients for non-urgent issues.


Broken/Cracked Removable Retainer

  • If the retainer is cracked but wearable please try to continue wearing it but place and remove the retainer as carefully as possible to prevent the crack spreading.
  • If the retainer has broken into pieces then try to wear the piece which covers the most teeth unless it is loose and doesn’t stay in place.
  • You should have wire retainers behind the teeth which should stop any unwanted movement, although in the first 6 months after having the braces removed there may be slight changes. These can easily be corrected once we are able to see patients using a clear removable aligner.


Broken/Loose Fixed Wire Retainer

  • If the wire is loose on one or more of the teeth but still attached to the end teeth then please wear your removable retainer every night to prevent unwanted tooth movement.
  • If the wire has completely come away at one end and is sticking into the tongue then it can be carefully grabbed with tweezers or pliers and pulled away completely. Again, you should wear your removable retainer every night to prevent unwanted tooth movement. Any rough bits of cement can be carefully smoothed with an emery board/nail file.
  • Any retainer problems will be dealt with as soon as we are able to see patients for routine problems.


Teeth Not Moving as Wanted

  • As we have been advised to stop ALL routine treatment unless patients are in severe pain, this means postponing orthodontic review appointments. This may lead to either a stop in tooth movement, or (less likely) some teeth may move out of line again as no adjustment or “tightening” is taking place.  This can be corrected once we are able to see patients and your brace treatment should progress as normal.


In the meantime you should continue to brush and clean your teeth and braces as normal.