Dos And Don'ts Of Dealing With A Partially Dislodged Bonded Retainer

If you had braces or other orthodontic work when you were younger, you may continue to wear a bonded retainer. This strip of wire, which you might call a "permanent wire," is affixed to the backs of several teeth in order to keep them straight. The manner in which it's bonded to the teeth means that you likely won't have problems with it, but there's a slight possibility that one end of the wire could loosen over time. If you encounter a partially dislodged bonded retainer, you'll need to call your dentist or orthodontist for help. In the meantime, here are some dos and don'ts to remember.

Do: Bend The Exposed End In A Suitable Manner

If one end of your bonded retainer is jutting out away from your teeth, it may cut or poke your tongue and cause discomfort. Don't feel as though you need to leave the device as-is. Wash your hands thoroughly and then bend the exposed end of the wire as much as you need so that it sits relatively flush against your teeth. This simple step will alleviate discomfort until a dental professional can fix the problem.

Don't: Try To Remove The Wire

You might not like the feeling of the wire being partially exposed, and decide to take matters into your own hands. For example, with a pair of tweezers or pliers, you might think about grabbing the end of the wire and attempting to rip it off. What you don't realize is how tightly the other end of the wire is likely bonded to your teeth. Pulling on the wire may cause damage to your teeth, as well as pain.

Do: Coat The Wire With Wax

If you've bent the wire but it's still bothering you, you can use wax to cover the wire's sharp end. A small piece of candle wax, warmed for a few minutes in the palm of your hand, becomes pliable and effective for this job. Roll the wax into a ball and then press it over the wire. The wax essentially serves as a cover for the wire to prevent its sharp end from bothering your tongue.

Don't: Ignore The Problem

Some people have a bad habit of ignoring dental problems, but something of this nature isn't an issue that will go away. Leaving the end of the bonded retainer loose means several things — first of all, it's not doing its job in keeping your teeth straight. Additionally, it can cause injuries to your tongue. Finally, food can get trapped under the loose wire and be difficult to remove with your brush, possibly leading to other dental problems over time.