Orthodontic problems that patients in braces can possibly fix or alleviate before contacting us:
Elastic Tie Falls off
Tiny rubber bands hold the wire to the bracket. If a rubber ligature should come off, you may be able to put it back in place by using sterile tweezers. In either case, this is not an emergency, and the patient can wait until their next visit to replace the tie. Please contact us to book an appointment if the patient cannot put the rubber ligature back on.
Elastic chain breaks
If the elastic chain breaks, this is not an orthodontic emergency. This can wait until your next appointment.
A Wire is Poking
There are several possible scenarios when a wire is poking:
- A ligature wire may be poking
- The main archwire may have come out of the tube
- The main archwire may be protruding out the back of the molar tube
Ligature wire poking
Try tucking the ligature wire away from the area by using the eraser end of a pencil or a Q-tip. If the ligature wire cannot be tucked in, cover the end of the wire with a small piece of wax, a cotton ball or a piece of sugarless gum. Please contact us when we reopen to schedule an appointment.
Main Archwire out of tube
You may attempt to reinsert the wire with a pair of needle nose pliers or tweezers. If you are not successful in placing the wire back into the tube, place a piece of wax over the area. If the archwire is long and poking you, apply wax to the area. Please contact us when we reopen to schedule an appointment.
If the main archwire is long and poking you, we recommend you cover the area with wax until you can get in to see us for a comfort appointment. Please contact us when we reopen to schedule an appointment.
If a bracket (the small rectangular brace) is loose, call our office to let us know so that a time can be made to see you when the clinic reopens. In most cases, the bracket will remain attached to the main archwire. A loose bracket can be left in place until you are seen for your repair appointment. You may use a pair of eyebrow tweezers to reposition the bracket if it flips around the wire and becomes a source of irritation.
Irritation of Lips and Cheeks
Sometimes new braces can be irritating to the mouth, especially when the patient is eating. Usually, the tissues toughen, but in the meanwhile, soft wax placed over the offending hardware will smooth it out. Simply pinch off a small piece and roll it into a ball the size of a small pea. Flatten the ball and place it completely over the area of the braces causing irritation. Warm salt water also helps (1 tsp salt in a glass of warm water). Over-the-counter ointments like Bonjela will also provide comfort and help with healing.
Sometimes archwires bow out into the cheeks and irritate the soft tissue. A ball of cotton over the wire, at least during sleep, relieves the cheek from this pressure.
Some patients are susceptible to episodes of mouth sores which may be precipitated or exacerbated by an 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. Placing wax over the bracket(s) in the area of irritation may also bring relief, and allow the irritated area to recover.
Mouth sores generally last 10 to 14 days, even if you don’t do anything. They sometimes last up to 6 weeks. The following steps can make you feel better:
- Avoid hot beverages and foods, spicy and salty foods, and citrus.
- Take pain relievers.
If any appliance gets bent or is not fitting well it should not be worn until it can be properly adjusted in our office. Please call our office to schedule a repair appointment.
Lost or Broken Appliances or Retainers
If you lose or break your appliance or retainer, bring all the pieces in with you for repair. There may be a fee for the repair of the appliance or retainer. Please contact us, however we will not be able to repair/remake another retainer until we open up again.
If your teeth are sore after a visit, take aspirin or ibuprofen unless you are allergic to them
Food Stuck Between Teeth
If food becomes stuck between your teeth, use dental floss or an Interproximal brush to dislodge the food. It sometimes helps to tie a small knot in the middle of the floss and then slide the floss back and forth through the food mass.
If a permanent tooth feels loose, a little movement is normal when wearing braces.
If you have suffered any trauma to your teeth please contact an emergency dentist straight away for an assessment and leave a message or email to let us know what occurred.