If you ever find yourself in what you believe to be an orthodontic emergency, the first step is to determine the severity of the problem: is it really a true emergency or is it a less serious issue that you can fix yourself?
The vast majority of orthodontic problems are relatively minor although some may irritate your mouth or cause discomfort. In general, the best approach is to try to ease the source of the problem, and then call our office to schedule an appointment.
Loose or Poking Wires: 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 or a cotton ball until you can see us for an adjustment.
If the main wire has come out of the tube on the back tooth, attempt to reinsert the wire with a pair of needle-nose pliers or tweezers. If the wire is sticking you, place a piece of wax over the area. As a last resort, you might be able to snip off the end of the wire with a nail clipper you’ve sterilized in alcohol. However, first call our office for advice and instructions.
Loose Brackets or Bands: If a bracket becomes loose, it usually remains connected to the main wire by a little colored rubber ring or a small steel ligature tie. Tweezers can be used to reposition the brace if it flips around the wire and becomes a source of irritation. Call our office and inform us of the problem.
If a piece of your braces break, save the piece and call our office to schedule a repair visit.
In cases of damaged wires, brackets or bands, it’s still important to call our office as soon as possible to arrange for repairs in order to keep your treatment plan on course.
Loose Teeth: It’s natural for teeth to become slightly loose when wearing braces…it’s a sign that your orthodontic treatment is working. Sometimes this tooth movement can be accompanied by tenderness, especially immediately after braces are fitted or adjusted. Try taking over-the-counter pain relief. Rinsing your mouth twice a day with a cup of warm water and half a teaspoon of salt can also be soothing. A heating pad or warm washcloth placed on your face may help to relieve tenderness as well.
If food becomes stuck between your teeth, use dental floss or a proxy brush to dislodge the food. If you cut your gums, tongue or the inside of your cheek, apply finger pressure to the bleeding site for several minutes. If the bleeding doesn’t stop, call your family dentist or our office.