There are very few true Orthodontic emergencies. Most issues can be remedied at home with very little effort. This section will cover the most frequent Orthodontic emergencies and how to correct them. We recommend that you watch the video to get yourself up to speed. First, it's important that you learn the names for the different parts of your braces so that when you communicate your issues to us, we can make sure to understand the issue you are experiencing. The diagram below lists the most common parts of your braces.
Loose or Broken Brackets
You may discover that you have loose or broken braces. This is usually caused by playing with your braces or eating hard or sticky foods. This is generally not an emergency unless it is associated with pain or discomfort. If the bracket is attached to the wire, leave it in place and cover it with wax as needed for comfort. If the bracket comes out completely, bring it with you to your next appointment. Avoid connecting elastics or a headgear appliance to any loose brackets. Call the office to schedule an appointment to repair the bracket. Be careful not to break too many brackets during your orthodontic treatment. You may be charged an extra fee to repair broken braces which may increase your overall braces cost.
Eating hard or sticky foods or playing with your orthodontic braces can loosen a band. This is generally not an emergency unless it is associated with pain or discomfort. Avoid connecting elastics or a headgear appliance to any loose bands. If the band is still attached to the wire, it will usually wobble slightly. You can call the office to see if you need a special appointment to have the band recemented or if it can be done at your regularly scheduled appointment time. If the band comes off your tooth, the space needed to recement the band may close in a few days so call us to schedule an appointment to have the band recemented. If no recementation appointment is available within a few days of the band coming off, the office can usually have you in for a quick appointment to place separators so the band space does not close. Please remember to bring the band with you to your appointment.
Long or Poking Archwire
Sometimes as your teeth shift, the ends of the wire will start poking out the back of the molar tubes and begin irritating the cheeks. This problem may be resolved by moving the wire away from the irritated area using a cotton swab or pencil eraser. If the wire does not move, cover it with a small pea-sized amount of wax or cotton. You may also try cutting the wire with nail clippers that have been washed and sterilized in alcohol. Call us for an appointment if you cannot resolve the problem.
Tooth Discomfort of Soreness
Teeth may become sore or achy following an orthodontic activation appointment. Usually, the teeth are most sore during the first 24-72 hours. After 72 hours, the teeth usually start feeling better. Maintain a soft food diet as needed. If necessary, take the pain reliever you would use for a headache.
Sores or Ulcerations Inside Mouth
During the first week of treatment, you may notice sores or ulcerations inside your mouth. This can happen because your lips and cheeks are not yet used to rubbing against your orthodontic braces. Over time, your skin on the inside of your mouth will get tougher and you will not have sores anymore.
To provide some relief for your lips and cheeks rubbing against your rough braces, dry the bracket very well and place a small pea-sized amount of wax or cotton on the area that is causing the sore or ulceration. The sore should improve within a couple of days and completely heal within a week. If the sore or ulceration does not improve or gets worse, call us to have it examined.
Wire Out of Tube or Slot
During treatment, flexible wires may slip out of the bracket slots of the back teeth. This may be avoided by eating the appropriate foods we recommend. If the wire comes out of the tube, try placing the wire back in the tube using tweezers. If necessary, cover the loose wire with wax and call us for an appointment.
Poking Metal Tie
Occasionally, metal wires are used to tie the archwire to the brackets or bands. Sometimes during eating or brushing, this metal wire tie can accidentally be redirected and start to cause irritation to your lips or cheeks. You can try to push the poky wire back into place by using the end of a pencil eraser. If that is not possible, you can place wax on the area causing the irritation until you can see us to have it fixed.
Lost Elastic Tie
If an elastic tie falls off, call us. Sometimes, you can wait until your next appointment to have it replaced. Other times, we will want to see you for a quick visit to put the elastic tie back on.
Headgear or other Orthodontic Appliances Doesn't Fit
Please call us for an appointment to have the orthodontic appliance or headgear adjusted. We will walk you through it.
Accident Involving the Teeth
If an accident occurs during treatment involving the teeth, call your dentist and us immediately. Dr. Lachica or Dr. Patterson will need to be updated on the situation so they can make accommodations and adjust your treatment accordingly.