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Braces Cutting Your Lips: How to Fix it

Updated: May 19, 2023

Can braces cause cuts in your lip and mouth? If they are, how do you heal a cut in your mouth from the braces and how long does it take to heal?

Braces injury

Table of Contents:

Are braces supposed to cut your lip?

A properly installed braces is not supposed to cut your lips even though they may be slightly uncomfortable. However, the discomfort should only be minor and it should not cut your mouth or cause you any moderate pain.

The discomfort is unavoidable because you have brackets and a metal wire in your mouth that stick out. Your lips, cheeks, and tongue will feel these wires and brackets.

If you are getting cuts in your mouth or feeling pain, it means that something is wrong. You should probably contact your orthodontist or dentist to see if they can resolve the issue for you.

Why do braces cause cuts in your mouth?

There are a variety of reasons as to why the cuts are forming but it usually indicates that something is wrong because it is not supposed to cause any injuries in your mouth. Here are some possible causes of the cuts.

  • The wire is too long. If it is too long, it can poke your cheeks and cause a cut in your mouth. Sometimes the length can rip your lips causing it to bleed and crack.

  • The bracket is broken. If the bracket breaks or falls off, the wire won't be held in properly. This can cause a cut from the wire or the broken bracket can injure your lip as well.

  • The wire is broken. An out of place wire will cause a lot of friction to your cheeks and lip. If it happens to be sharp, it may rip it up.

What to do about the cuts?

If you are getting cut lips from braces, you should definitely contact your orthodontist to have it addressed. In the meantime, you should've been given some orthodontic wax to use. The wax can help alleviate the pain from the cuts and also prevent it from getting worse.

How to use the orthodontic wax:

  1. Rip off a small piece and roll it into a ball.

  2. Rolling it will generate heat to help it mold.

  3. Apply the wax over the sharp wire or sharp bracket.

  4. Cover the sharp spots completely.

  5. If it still feels sharp, apply more wax until it is no longer sharp.

How to treat the cut lip or injured area:

  1. Clean the area by rinsing it with water.

  2. You can rinse it one time with hydrogen peroxide or listerine to kill any bacteria.

  3. All subsequent mouth rinses should be only salt with water so that you don't irritate the spot and let it heal.

  4. Take some ibuprofen or acetaminophen for pain relief.

  5. Apply some anbesol to the cut.

  6. Apply a cold compress to numb the area.

These are temporary solutions but for a permanent one, please see your dentist. If the wire is too long, they can simply cut it to make it shorter. If the bracket or wire is broken, your orthodontist can simply replace the broken pieces with a new one.

How long do braces cut last?

It may take anywhere from a few days to up to two weeks for the braces cut to heal. That is how long it takes to heal the cut. It will heal faster if you follow these guidelines:

  • Don't play around with the area or intentionally aggravate it.

  • Definitely stay away from hot and spicy foods.

  • Use the orthodontic wax so that it doesn't continue to cause cuts.

  • Rinse only with salt water since it is the most gentle.

  • Check in regularly with your orthodontist so that your braces can be adjusted periodically.

Take away

Yes, braces can cut your lips but it typically means that something is wrong. Your dentist can fix it if it is a broken wire or bracket. They can cut the braces if it is too long as well. Although if you aren't able to make it to the dentist, there are some at home remedies that you can try to hold you off until you can.

If not, you can always see one of our LIC dentists. We're located at 1311 Jackson Ave, Long Island City, NY 11101.

PS: Alternatively you can also avoid all of these problems with your braces cutting your lip by switching to Invisalign. These invisible braces do not cut your lips because they don't use any metal! Our patients tell us that it offers a more comfortable orthodontic experience. Just for full disclosure, the Invisalign can still cause some discomfort.



David Chen 200 x 200.jpg

About the author: Dr David Chen, DDS

Hello, I'm Dr Chen and I'm an actively practicing dentist in Long Island City, NY. I graduated from Columbia University College of Dental Medicine in 2016 but prior to going to dental school I was already working in the dental field. It's been more than a decade since I first got to know dentistry and let me tell you, time flies by quickly. Since then I've developed a fondness for writing, which is how this all got started!

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Medical Disclaimer:

This blog is purely meant for information purposes and should not be used as medical advice. Each situation in your mouth is unique and complex. It is not possible to give advice nor diagnose any oral conditions based on text nor virtual consultations. The best thing to do is to go in person to see your dentist for an examination and consultation so that you can receive the best care possible.

The purpose of all of this oral health information is to encourage you to see your dentist and to inform you of what you may expect during your visit. Due to the unfortunate nature of dentistry, there isn't really any true home remedies that will get rid of dental problems. Roughly 99.99% of them require in-person intervention by a healthcare professional.

Hint: That is the reason why you can't eliminate seeing dentists in your life!

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