Dear Alice,

When both of u have braces, and you do happen to get stuck together, is there any way to unhook without help from anyone other than you and him?

Dear Reader,

Although the number of teens writing in to magazines about being "absolutely mortified" of getting into this sticky situation could have you believing otherwise, relax and take a deep breath. It's not likely that you and your guy need to worry about an orthodontic lip lock. What does happen from time to time is that the projections and wires on braces can snag on the other smacker's lips, but even this is a rare event.

More of a concern when putting in some face time is brace breakage. To keep your gear intact, be sure to take it easy when kissing. Anyone who has worn braces has heard his/her orthodontist's warnings of the perils of hard fruits and vegetables. So, think of your partner's mouth ware and teeth as an apple. Much like what happens when your desire for a Red Delicious gets the better of you, run your braces too forcefully against the hard surface of his teeth and you could end up with a popped wire or unglued brace.

And though a break is far more likely than a binding, never say never. In case you and he become one of the unlucky few that make tangles "rare" rather than "impossible," the best strategy is a little backtracking and a lot of patience. Consider telling a funny joke or playing the staring game to ease tensions while trying to untangle and separate, slowly, gently, and carefully. If all else fails, a humble yell or phone call might be your only option; though embarrassing, it's certainly a better one than the monetary damage that a hefty tug could cause.


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