Emergency Dental Care
A Bracket is Knocked Off
Brackets are the parts of braces attached to teeth with a special adhesive. They are generally positioned in the center of each tooth. If the bracket is off center and moves along the wire, the adhesive has likely failed. Call your orthodontist, who will determine the course of action.
If the loose brackets has rotated on the wire and is sticking out, attempt to turn it back into its normal position and call your orthodontist to schedule an appointment to have it reattached. You may wish to put orthodontic wax around the area to minimize the movement of the loose brace. If you are in pain, please call your orthodontist and inform them of the circumstance. If you are not in pain, this is not a true emergency. Please call the orthodontist at your earliest convenience to schedule an appointment to reattach the brace of the tooth.
Remember, brackets can become loose as a result of chewing hard, sticky or chewy foods or object as well as from physical contact from sports or rough housing. Be sure to wear a protective mouth guard while playing sports!
The Archwire is Poking
If the end of an orthodontic archwire is poking in the back of the mouth, attempt to put wax over the area to protect the cheek. Call the orthodontist to schedule an appointment and have that clipped. If you are uncomfortable, make sure you inform the orthodontist.
In a situation where the wire is extremely bothersome and the patient will not be able to see the orthodontist immediately, the wire may be clipped with an instrument such as fingernail clippers.
Reduce the possibility of swallowing the snipped piece of wire by using folded tissue or gauze around the area to catch the piece you will remove. Use a pair of sharp clippers and snip off the protruding wire. Relief wax may still be necessary to provide comfort to the irritated area.
“Ligature Wire” is Poking Lip or Cheek
Use a Q-tip or pencil eraser to push the wire so that it is flat against the tooth. If the wire cannot be moved into a comfortable position, cover it with relief wax. Make the orthodontist aware of the problem.
Loose Brackets, Wires or Bands
If the braces have come loose in any way, call the orthodontist to determine appropriate next steps. Save any pieces of your braces that break off and bring them with you to your repair appointment.
Irritation of Lips or Cheeks
Sometimes new braces can be irritating to the mouth. A small amount of orthodontic wax makes an excellent buffer between the braces and lips, cheek or tongue. 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 are of the braces causing irritation. If possible, dry off the area first as the wax will stick better. The patient may then eat more comfortably. If the wax is accidentally swallowed it’s not a problem. The wax is harmless.
People who have mouth sores during orthodontic treatment may gain relief by applying a small amount of topical anesthetic (such as Orabase or Ora-Gel) directly to the sore area using a cotton swab. Reapply as needed.
It’s normal to have discomfort for three to five days after braces or retainers or adjusted. Although temporary, it can make eating uncomfortable. Encourage soft foods. Have the patient rinse the mouth with warm salt water. Over-the-counter pain relievers, acetaminophen or ibuprofen, may be effective.
Foods to Avoid While Wearing Braces
- Chewing Gum, Bubble Gum…includes “Sugar Free” gum.
Ice…when crunched, can destroy all your braces.
- Pizza Crust…bends wires.
- Hard Pretzels, Chips, Tacos…bends wires, loosens brands, knocks off brackets.
- Caramel Candy, Gummy Bears, Jelly Beans…sticky goo pulls off wires and feeds the bacteria in your mouth.
- Hard Rolls, Bagels, Bones…bends the wire and knocks of brackets.
- Beef Jerky, Slim JIms…tough as nails, pulls off brackets.
- Suckers and Other Hard Candy.
- Nuts…nuts of any kind.
- Ribs…knocks off brackets.
Pens and Pencils (favorite exam time food)…pops off brackets and breaks wires very quick and easily.
- Un-popped Popcorn Kernels.
- Raw Carrots, Raw Celery & Apples…loosens and knocks off brackets.