Simply contact the office during normal business hours and explain the situation. In the meantime, you can find temporary solutions to common braces issues throughout this page.
If you experience trauma to your face or mouth or feel emergency care is necessary, call us right away. We offer 24-hour, on-call urgent care service for patients, so call our office. Our emergency care answering service will contact our on-call staff, and we’ll make sure to take care of you as soon as possible.
Tips for Handling Some Orthodontic Dental Emergencies:
Soreness from braces
It’s normal to have a little discomfort for a day or two after braces are put in or adjusted at future appointments. It’s not an emergency, but it can be uncomfortable, especially when trying to eat. Eating soft foods for a couple days may help. Soups, stews and macaroni and cheese are good choices. Over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help, too.
Mouth sores from braces
With traditional braces, you might experience a few mouth sores. These sores may appear inside the cheeks, or on the lips or even on the tongue. These sores are common, and unfortunately may be uncomfortable.
Applying a topical anesthetic like Orabase or Ora-Gel will help you feel better, as well as help the sores heal. Reapply the anesthetic as often as you need to, and apply it with a cotton swab so you don’t introduce the area to possible infection.
Irritation of lips and cheeks from braces
With braces, you have an appliance in your mouth that it simply isn’t used to. It may take a little time for your mouth, cheek, lips and tongue to get used to their new friend. To help alleviate some of the irritation, our office will provide you with relief wax. Simply pinch off a small piece and roll it into a tiny ball. Flatten the ball and place it over the area of the braces that is causing the irritation.
If the wax falls off, a piece of wet cotton wrapped around the offending attachment or even a small piece of orange peel can do the trick. You’ll be able to eat better, talk better, and feel better just by having a little buffer between your braces and your cheek or lip, but you may still need a little adjustment. Oh, and if you accidentally swallow the wax, don’t worry–it’s perfectly harmless.
Food caught between teeth behind braces
Getting food stuck in between your teeth and behind your braces can be a little uncomfortable and even a little embarrassing. But it’s an easy fix. All you need is a piece of dental floss. Tie a small knot in the middle of the floss to help remove the food. If you don’t have any floss, try an interproximal brush or pick, or even a regular toothpick. Always be gentle as to not hurt the gums or damage the braces.
What to do if a colored O-tie comes off?
The ligature is the tiny rubber band that’s stretched around the bracket. Its job is to hold the wire to the bracket so the wire can deliver force to the teeth and move them. (Sometimes a twisted wire is used instead of a rubber ligature.)
If your rubber ligature comes off, try to put it back in place with sterile tweezers. If a wire ligature comes loose, just take it out with sterile tweezers. If the wire ligature is sticking out into the lip but is not loose, you can try to bend it back with a Q-tip or pencil eraser. Be wary, though. If one ligature pops off or breaks, others may do so, as well. If ligatures continue to break, call us for a follow-up visit. You may be in need of an adjustment to make sure those stay on.
What to do if brackets come loose
Brackets serve as handles to hold the wire of the braces in place. Brackets are generally bonded to the teeth with adhesive. They are tough, sturdy and stable. But if you eat hard, crunchy or sticky types of food, the brackets can indeed loosen. If you get hit in the mouth, the brackets can loosen, too. That’s why you should ask your dentist or orthodontist about wearing a mouth guard during any and all types of physical activity.
The best thing to do if a bracket breaks or comes loose is contact our office. He/She will want to examine your mouth and decide the best course of action to fix the bracket. Plus, he/she has all the tools and expertise to make the fix.
If you can’t get to your orthodontist right away, you can do a temporary fix to alleviate comfort and avoid further damage by using sterile tweezers to slide the bracket along the wire until it’s between two teeth. Rotate the bracket back to the proper position, then slide it back to the center of the tooth. Again, this is just a temporary fix to get you by until you can get to the our office, which should be as soon as possible.
What to do if a wire comes loose
The arch wire of braces fits in the horizontal slots in each bracket. The wire is secured to all of the brackets, and occasionally, simply by the act of biting and chewing, the end of a wire will work itself out and cause irritation. The best way to alleviate the discomfort is to push the wire back down. Use a Q-tip or pencil eraser to push the wire back so it’s flat against your tooth.
If you can’t get the wire back to a comfortable position, cover it with relief wax to have a buffer between your braces and the area of your mouth that’s irritated. In an extremely bothersome situation, and as a last resort, clip the wire.
Reduce the possibility of swallowing the snipped piece by putting a folded tissue or piece of gauze around the area. Use sharp clippers and snip off the wire. Use relief wax if the area is still irritated. Make a follow-up appointment with us to make sure the braces are still secure and to get a different wire if necessary.