Troubleshooting Guide for Braces and Invisalign
Navigating your child’s orthodontic care at home
When your child is going through orthodontic treatment, it’s natural to want to do everything you can to ensure that they get the best possible results. After all, you want them to end up with a smile that’s as healthy as it is beautiful—one they’ll feel confident in for a lifetime! Part of ensuring your child gets stunning results from their orthodontic treatment is educating yourself on the type of treatment they’re undergoing and making sure you’re prepared for any issues that may arise with it.
Doing this gives you the knowledge you need to head these issues off if they do happen, resolving them faster and with as little stress as possible. It also gives you the knowledge to help prevent orthodontic emergencies, helping your child’s treatment go more smoothly. We also want the best results for your child, so we’ve put together a guide for troubleshooting common problems with braces and Invisalign to help you navigate these aspects of their orthodontic care at home.
Troubleshooting for Braces
Braces involve a complex system of wires, brackets, and bands attached to your child’s teeth, so several problems can arise with braces during your child’s treatment. You can solve some of these problems at home, but others might require an emergency dental appointment so your child’s orthodontist can resolve the problem.
One of the most common problems with braces is a piece of food getting stuck in them. This isn’t good for your child’s teeth or the braces themselves and it can cause discomfort or pain. In most cases, you should be able to carefully dislodge the food using a toothbrush, floss, or toothpick. If you’re struggling to dislodge it and are worried about damaging the braces, call our office so we can help you.
The metal brackets or wires can also rub against the inside of your child’s lips or cheeks, causing rawness and pain. The best way to manage this is to coat the areas rubbing against your child’s mouth in specialized dental wax to soften them.
It’s also possible for some of the pieces that comprise your child’s braces to come loose or break. Thankfully, these problems with braces don’t all require immediate attention from your child’s dentist. If a small bit of wire pops out of place and begins poking the inside of their cheek, you can carefully bend it back into place or at least out of the way and cover it with wax if necessary to reduce irritation. Then simply mention the issue at your child’s next appointment.
A bracket may also sometimes become loose or fall off. This isn’t a dental emergency but will need to be repaired within a few days during a special appointment, so call us immediately to set it up. Make sure you bring any brackets that have fallen out with you to this appointment.
Some problems with braces do require an emergency dental appointment, however. You’ll need to schedule an emergency appointment right away if all or most of the wire has popped free, if the wire breaks, or if a band comes loose or falls out. If you’re ever not sure whether an issue qualifies as an emergency or needs to be treated by your child’s dentist, don’t hesitate to call! We’ll figure out what the best next steps are for your child together.
Troubleshooting for Invisalign
Invisalign has many advantages, but there are still several common problems with Invisalign that you may have to work around. Since the aligners are removable, one of the most common problems with Invisalign is lost or damaged aligners. Avoiding this issue comes down to teaching your child how important it is to know where their aligners are when they’re not wearing them—namely, in a case that has their name and contact information on it. Even when they’re simply taking their aligners out for a quick snack, their aligners should go in a case to avoid accidentally getting cleared off the table with trash.
Accidents happen, though, and your child losing or damaging their aligners isn’t the end of the world—but it can sometimes add to treatment time and costs. If they were about to switch to a new set of aligners anyway, your dentist may simply have them switch to the new set a little early. Otherwise, your child will have to go back to wearing their previous set while they wait for a replacement set to be made.
Your child may also experience common issues surrounding cleaning their aligners, such as bad breath or their aligners not staying clear. Invisalign can cause these issues when they aren’t cleaned properly because of bacteria build up on the aligners.
Invisalign aligners can also become more visible if they’re cleaned with abrasive materials. Thankfully, the solution is as simple as ensuring that your child cleans their aligners properly! This means not just rinsing the aligners, but cleaning them twice a day using clear unscented soap, lukewarm water, and a soft-bristled toothbrush. You can also use specialized cleaning crystals developed by Invisalign. Either method should keep your child’s breath smelling fresh and ensure the aligners stay invisible on their teeth.
Finally, your child may notice that their Invisalign aligners suddenly don’t fit. There are two main reasons for this. Their aligners may have become warped from heat, which often happens when they’re washed with hot water or left exposed to direct sunlight. In this case, your child will need to either switch to their next set of aligners or resume wearing their last set while replacements are made.
Their aligners might also stop fitting if they forgot to wear them for a while or haven’t been wearing them regularly, causing their teeth to begin shifting back to their previous positions. If this happens, call our office to schedule an appointment to determine the next best step.
How to Avoid Orthodontic Emergencies
Thankfully, orthodontic emergencies aren’t a given. While you can’t completely eliminate the risk that your child will experience one, you can greatly reduce it. The best way you can do this is by following all of your orthodontist’s instructions.
With braces, this means making sure your child avoids certain foods. It might not be fun, but these foods are on the “do not eat” list specifically because they can damage your child’s braces. Other relatively simple steps include ensuring your child wears a mouthguard during sports and teaching them how to clean their braces properly and thoroughly—as well as ensuring that they’re following through on doing just that!
Invisalign aligners are also an excellent way to avoid orthodontic emergencies. With no metal parts that can break, the treatment largely avoids orthodontic emergencies. Even if your child loses or damages their aligners, there is no rushed visit to the dentist. You simply call our office and let us know. At most, you’ll switch your child to their last set of aligners for a few days while you wait for replacements to arrive.
No matter which orthodontic treatment method you and your child choose, knowing how to handle these situations helps ensure that your child’s treatment goes as smoothly as possible and produces stunning results, giving them a healthy, beautiful smile that they’ll love for a lifetime. If you’d like to learn more about orthodontic treatments from a Flower Mound dentist and which method is best for your child, or if you have any questions about their current treatment process, feel free to schedule an appointment with Dr. Naik at any time.