Orthodontic emergencies are considered rare, however minor issues can occur that can cause mild discomfort which is the case with any dental treatment. If the pain is severe or you have a brace appliance problem, it’s important that you make an appointment with your orthodontist. Following are a few suggestions that can help make you comfortable, relieve pain and provide a quick fix for wire or loose bracket brace problems until your appointment.
Itís common to experience a little discomfort for the first few days after braces are put in and when they’re adjusted during future appointments. Minor discomfort isn’t anything to worry about and, per your orthodontist’s instructions, in most cases can be addressed by consuming soft meals for the first few days like pastas, soups, etc. You’ll more than likely also be permitted to take over the counter pain relievers that include ibuprofen and/or acetaminophen to relieve an associated pain. In the beginning, mouth sores inside the cheek, on the lips and the tongue are also common, but they can be treated with a topical anesthetic like Oragel or Orabase.
When it comes to relief from lips and cheek irritation caused by wires, orthodontists can provide patients with relief wax. Just pinch off a tiny piece, roll it into a ball, flatten it and place it over the section of the braces that’s causing the discomfort.
Brackets Come Loose
Brackets function as handles to keep the wire on the braces in place, typically bonded to the teeth with an adhesive. Brackets are resilient, however if you eat hard, sticky or crunchy foods they’ll eventually loosen. If you take part in a physically challenging sport that could cause a hit in the mouth, let your orthodontist know; they may suggest that you wear a mouth guard during game play. If a bracket comes loose or breaks the best course of action is to make an appointment with your orthodontist. They have the expertise and tools at hand to properly examine your braces and mouth and to determine the best plan when it comes to repairing the brackets and/or any other applicable issues with your braces.
Wires Come Loose
The arch wire used on braces fits securely into the horizontally positioned slots in the brackets. Due to the repetitive act of chewing and biting, the end of one of the wires can end up working itself out of a bracket, causing irritation. In this case, the best way to relieve the discomfort is to push the wire back into place using a Q-tip or a pencil eraser. If you can’t get the wire comfortably back into place, cover it with dental relief wax which will relieve irritation until you can see your orthodontist.
Problems with Bracket’s Ligature Band
The ligature band (similar to a skinny rubber band) stretches around the bracket with its sole function being to hold the wire in place on the bracket. This action makes it possible for the wire to provide pressure to the teeth in order to move them. If the ligature band comes off, you can try to put it back into place using sterilized tweezers. It’s important to keep in mind that if one ligature band brakes or pops off, others may follow.
The best course of action with any orthodontic emergency is to consult with your orthodontist, even if it’s just to ask them if it’s an issue you can address on your own until your next scheduled appointment.
Ousama El-Hillal, referred to as Dr. O by patients, staff and friends is an Orthodontist at E&S Orthodontics. He founded E&S Orthodontics with Dr. Saavedra in 2004. He is driven to create Wide Beautiful Smiles Without Extractions.