Caring for Braces, Braces Myths and More

Braces Myths

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) sets the record straight on some of the biggest braces myths and misconceptions about orthodontic treatment. Currently more than 4 million children and 1 million adults in North America wear braces. Below are the answers to some of the most popular, and strange, braces myths and questions AAO members have received from their patients during the past year:

Can braces rust?
No. This braces myth is just not up to date. Today’s braces are made of new stronger materials, like titanium alloy, and will NOT rust.

Can I still play sports?
Yes, but be sure to wear a mouth guard. Not only can mouth guards save teeth, they may also protect against jaw fractures. Mouth guards are advisable for anyone, whether they wear braces or not.

Can I still play a musical instrument?
Yes. That is, if you could play a musical instrument before you got braces.

If two people with braces kiss, can their braces become locked together?
With today’s smaller sleeker braces it is extremely difficult, almost impossible, to lock braces while kissing. Also, braces are NOT magnetic.

Will my braces set off the metal detectors in the airport?
One of the more common braces myths! You are cleared for takeoff. The lightweight materials used in braces will not affect metal detectors.

Will my braces interfere with radio signals or electronics devices?
Another common braces myth! No. Radio-loving gadget fanatics can rest easy.

Will braces increase my chance of being struck by lightning?
No. With or without braces, the chances of a lightning strike remain the same which, in the U.S. in any 1 year, according to, is 1 in 700,000. Rest easy, you can put this braces myth to bed.

Will my braces attract unwarranted attention from fish?
Scuba aficionados take heart: there is no need to cancel your next dive. The small brackets used in today’s braces, especially ceramic, will NOT attract attention from unsavory fish or sea life.

Caring for Braces & Retainers

Wire Poking & Irritation
If a wire causes irritation, push the wire away from the area using the eraser end of a pencil or a Q-Tip. If the wire cannot be tucked away, cover the end of the wire with a small piece of wax, a cotton ball, or a piece of sugarless gum until you can see an orthodontist in our Long Beach dentist office for an adjustment.

Loose Wire on Back Teeth
If the main wire has come out of the tube on your back molar tooth, attempt to reinsert the wire with a pair of needle-nosed pliers or tweezers. If the wire is not poking you, place a piece of wax over the area. If the wire is poking you and wax does not help, the wire can be cut with a small wire cutter or toenail clipper close to the back of the last brace. This is a last resort if an orthodontist is unavailable.

Spacer Fell Out
In case a rubber spacer falls out, take two pieces of dental floss and insert them through the spacer. Pull on both pieces of floss to stretch the spacer, then slide the spacer back and forth between the two teeth where it belongs. Once the bottom half of the spacer slips under the tight spot between the teeth, release and remove the floss and the spacer will fit back properly.

Loose Bracket
If a bracket becomes loose, it usually remains connected to the main wire. Eyebrow tweezers can be used to reposition the brace if it flips around the wire and becomes a source of irritation. Call our orthodontist office and inform us of your situation and we will schedule you for a repair appointment.

Appliance Breaks
If a piece of your braces breaks, save the piece and call our office to schedule a repair visit. Please bring it to your appointment. Your braces have a specific prescription for your teeth and thus, if possible, your own brace should be replaced as soon as possible.

Remain calm if you swallow a piece of your appliance. This will usually go into the stomach, passing out of the body in a bowel movement. However, should difficulty breathing be experienced you should seek immediate medical attention. X-rays will be taken to determine the location of the swallowed piece.

If a retainer cracks, remove the retainer from your mouth and bring all the pieces to our office for professional repair.

Pain or Discomfort
Take aspirin, Tylenol or ibuprofen (unless allergic) for temporary relief of discomfort caused by adjustments.

If a sore develops in your mouth you may use Orabase for relief.


For more information about our dentist office in Long Beach, please contact us today!

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