While it can sometimes seem like you’re experiencing an orthodontic emergency
, in the orthodontic world, there are very few circumstances that warrant a genuine emergency response.
We’ve summarized our top tips for staying in control when faced with an orthodontic ‘crisis’.
#1 – Food caught between teeth
While not technically an emergency, food caught between teeth can be uncomfortable. This is easily fixed with a piece of dental floss.
Our solution? Try using Super Floss or tying a knot in the middle of a length of floss to help remove the food. Alternatively, you can use an inter proximal brush or toothpick to dislodge food caught between the teeth and braces.
In any case, regular flossing is essential at any time, and especially so during orthodontic treatment. At least twice weekly, if you can’t manage everyday.
#2 – Powerchain has dislodged
Sometimes during treatment we may use Powerchain to close spaces or help with bite correction.
This is fixed to teeth but can come loose or break sometimes. If it comes loose from the end attachment, it may be possible to replace it yourself. If it is broken or you are unable to attach it again, then it is best you contact us to make an appointment.
#3 Mouth soreness and ulcers
Some patients may experience ulcers or mouth sores and while braces do not cause them, they may be irritated by the braces.
Technically, this is not an emergency, but you may find it uncomfortable. Try applying a small amount of Bonjela to the ulcerated surface using a cotton bud. Saltwater mouthwashes may also be helpful. Use a warm cup of water with a teaspoon of salt, three to four times daily.
#4 Irritated lips and cheeks
Sometimes, especially at the time braces are fitted, they can be irritating to your mouth.
A small amount of relief wax, which we supply you with at your braces fitting, makes an excellent, smooth buffer between the metal of your braces and your mouth.
Applying the wax is easy. Simply pinch off a small piece and roll it into a ball. Then place it completely over the area of the braces causing the irritation. Make sure you dry the area first so it sticks better.
The wax is harmless, even if it’s swallowed accidentally.
#5 Protruding wire
If the end of a wire should work itself out of place and is irritating your mouth, you can use either a cotton bud or a pencil with an eraser on the end to push the wire so that it is flat against the tooth.
If you find the wire cannot be moved into a comfortable position, it can be covered with relief wax following the steps outlined above. If the wire is causing too much discomfort and an appointment cannot be scheduled quickly, you may clip the wire.
To reduce the possibility of the snipped piece of wire being swallowed, use a folded piece of tissue in the area. Use sharp nail clippers and simply snip off the protruding wire and remove from the mouth.
#6 Loose brackets, wires, bands or bracket gates?
If braces become loose in any way, please contact us immediately to discuss your situation.
A bracket that has become “unglued” and is off center, is considered a breakage. If the bracket has rotated on the wire and is protruding and you cannot come to the practice, it’s possible for you to put in place a temporary fix to alleviate discomfort and prevent further damage.
Use sterile tweezers to slide the bracket along the wire until it is between two teeth. Rotate back to (roughly) the correct position, then slide it back to the center of the tooth.
#7 Swallowing a piece of the appliance
Nobody likes a mouth full of metal, but what if you swallow a piece of your brackets, wires or orthodontics appliance?
This can be a worrying dilemma for the patient, however the good news is, it rarely occurs.
Step 1? Remain calm. If you begin to cough excessively or are having difficulty breathing the piece could have been aspirated. If this is the case, seek medical help immediately.
However, in our experience, if a piece of an appliance is swallowed, it generally passes through your system without causing harm. In either case please notify your orthodontist of the incident.
If you have any queries about these or any other issues you’re experiencing with your orthodontic treatment, please reach out to us. One of our team will be more than happy to help you.
Have you ever had an orthodontic emergency? What happened and how did you resolve it? Share your stories here with the Specialty Orthodontics community.