It doesn’t matter what brackets you have; metal, clear, self ligating or traditional, it’s highly likely at some point in your treatment you will get some sharp pokey wires.

These are wires that, for a variety of reasons, will end up stabbing, rubbing and generally annoying you until such time that you can get it fixed. The main cause of this inconvenience is the archwires poking out of your back brackets which can happen for two reasons, progress and your ortho staff forgetting to trim the wires following an appointment.

Let’s look at progress first. Many of us will have gaps that need closing or teeth that need moving to a different position (which is the reason we are undertaking orthodontics in the first place) and in doing so, your archwire will move or your arch may get slightly smaller. The archwires, which are attached to each bracket need somewhere to go which is why the final bracket on your back teeth has an open ended tube which allows the wire to slide through. This creates an excess of wire poking out the back of the tube which in turn pokes you in the cheek. Simple really. So a poking wire is just an indication of progress and easily fixed during your next adjustment.

The other way you can get a poking archwire is when you have a new archwire fitted and the orthodontist doesn’t trim the end close enough to your back bracket. This is easily resolved by checking each of the back brackets prior to leaving your appointment either by running your tongue or finger over the brackets and letting the staff know so they can trim any excess wire.

You might find within a few days of an adjustment that a wire that was tolerable at your appointment starts to get uncomfortable and if this happens, think about going back to get it looked at or use some wax as a temporary measure until your next scheduled appointment.