I've decided to write a short series on at-home solutions for common orthodontic problems, and today I'm starting with the most common - the poking wire! Sometimes wires can shift inside the mouth for various reasons, and often this results in discomfort if the end of the wire can catch the lips or cheeks.
First, let's talk about why wires might start to shift after your appointment. A common reason is space closure. When space closes between your teeth, the wire that supported them may be too long for the new position of your teeth. This is very normal and to be expected. Sometimes it's minor and doesn't result in discomfort, but in other cases, the space closure is substantial and the wire may poke. Another common reason is improved alignment of the teeth. As the teeth (and thus the brackets) get straighter, the wire can slide more passively within the brackets and may shift to one side or the other. Another common cause of poking wires is breaking or bending. Wires can be broken or bent by chewing on foods that are a little too hard, or using hands and fingers to manipulate the wires.
No matter how your wire has gotten out of place, the solution is usually the same! First, we suggest using the strips of wax that we gave you when you started treatment with your braces. If you've run out, you're always welcome to visit the office to receive more. You can also normally find orthodontic wax in most drug stores. Take a small piece of the wax and warm it between your fingers before "smashing" it onto the sharp end of the wire. If you find that this is ineffective or you desire a more permanent solution, you may use a small wire clipper (or as is more commonly found in homes, a pair of nail clippers) to cut the end of the wire shorter. Don't worry about ruining the wire - it can be repaired at your next visit!
We always work hard to provide you with useful solutions that help you avoid extra trips to the office, but if these fixes don't work for you, you are always welcome to schedule a quick appointment and get our help to take care of the issue! Your comfort is our top priority!