True orthodontic emergencies are rare, but they are something that patients may encounter from time to time.
Here are a few of the more common orthodontic problems, along with some tips on what you can do to relieve them at home:
Loose or broken brackets, bands or wires, this is often caused by eating hard or sticky candy or food or playing with the braces. If the band or bracket is still attached to the wire, leave it as is. You can cover it with orthodontic wax if it’s irritating the inside of your mouth. If it has come off, save it. In either case, call our practice to let us know what happened, and we will schedule a visit. Be sure to bring any loose parts with you to the appointment!
Misplaced or poking archwire, bracket or tie
As the teeth start to move, the wire that connects them (archwire) may begin poking near the back of the mouth or irritating the cheeks. You can try moving the wire into a better position if the wire won’t move, you may be able to cut the end off, but before doing so, please call our practice for our guidance or instructions. Often, you can also use tweezers to gently move a misplaced wire or a tie that’s causing problems.
When wires or brackets cause irritation, covering the metal parts with wax will often help ease the discomfort. As with any of these types of problems, call our practice and we will schedule a time to see you.
General tooth pain or loosening
It’s normal for teeth to become slightly loosened during orthodontic treatment, that shows they’re moving. Sometimes, this movement may be accompanied by tenderness, especially after braces are placed or adjusted. For minor soreness, you can use your regular pain reliever (Paracetamol).
Some patients are susceptible to episodes of mouth sores. While braces do not cause them, they may be precipitated or exacerbated by irritation from braces. One or several areas of ulceration of the cheeks, lips or tongue may appear. This is not an emergency, but may be very uncomfortable for the patient. Wax is your best friend to relieve and protect the irritated surfaces.
Ligature come off
Tiny rubber bands or small, fine wires, known as ligatures, hold the wire to the bracket. If a rubber ligature should come off, you may be able to put it back in place using sterile tweezers. If a wire ligature comes loose, simply remove it with sterile tweezers. If the wire ligature is sticking out into the lip but is not loose, it may be bent back down with a Q-tip or pencil eraser to eliminate the irritation.
Food caught between the teeth
This is not an emergency, but can be a little uncomfortable or embarrassing for the braces-wearing patient. It is easily fixed with a piece of dental floss or uses an interproximal brush or toothpick to dislodge food caught between teeth and braces.
While actual emergencies are rare, our goal is to make orthodontic treatment as comfortable as possible. If you need additional advice, don’t hesitate to call us!