With excellent habits and home care, many patients make it through their full orthodontic treatment without ever experiencing an emergency. Unfortunately, however, emergencies and accidents can happen, and when they do, you want to know that help is available when you need it most.
At Sporting Smiles, we accommodate dental and orthodontic emergencies 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You may reach our doctors directly by phone or via email.
Here is a quick rundown of what to do if an orthodontic emergency happens to you.
A Bracket Is Loose or Comes Off
If a bracket is loose, in most cases it will remain affixed to the archwire by a little rubber elastic ring (which looks like an o-ring). You may use a pair of eyebrow tweezers or an opened paper clip to stretch the elastic off the bracket. The bracket can then be carefully lifted from the archwire.
If you are unable to easily perform the above procedures, place a small piece of orthodontic wax over the bracket and call us for the first available appointment. Do not worry about any major changes because of a loose bracket.
Eating hard or sticky foods is the usual cause of loose brackets. When we place your braces, we will provide with a list of foods to avoid during your treatment so you can avoid this problem.
Wires that break or come loose are also usually caused by eating hard foods or chewing on items that are not food (like ice, a pencil, or your fingernails). Popping a wire can be uncomfortable because the sharp end can poke your tender gum and lip tissue. Call our office right away so we can make a repair. It's also a good idea to keep some orthodontic wax on hand to cover the sharp tip until you can be seen.
Bracket and Wire Discomfort
Wearing braces can sometimes lead to some discomfort, but we want you to know that any discomfort you experience isn't constant and it isn't severe. Discomfort is usually caused by the pressure of the braces and the movement of the teeth. This process can cause the gums and other tissues around the teeth to become inflamed. People tend to experience discomfort following an adjustment, or a "tightening" appointment. The discomfort will fade quickly.
In the meantime, an over-the-counter pain reliever like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) will usually help take care of any discomfort – particularly if you take it shortly before an appointment in which we'll be tightening your braces.
If your discomfort is severe, unexpected, or doesn't fade away within a few days, please give our office a call so we can bring you in and check the condition of your braces.