Some orthodontic problems can be dealt with by yourself if an emergency visit to your orthodontic specialist is not possible.
The following section provides suggestions on how to deal with some of these problems:
- Tooth pain after the braces have been adjusted
- Irritation of lips and cheeks
- Ligatures come off the brace while eating sticky foods
- Brace is knocked during sport or while eating a hard food
- Protruding Wire
Other orthodontic emergencies are preventable. The following are some examples:
- Storing a removable appliance or retainer
- Removing an appliance or retainer when eating out
- Removing Headgear
Tooth pain after the braces have been adjusted
A frequent problem is tooth pain for several days after the braces have been adjusted. This tends to make eating more difficult. One suggestion is to make sure soft foods are available. Another simple step to take is to use non-prescription pain relievers such as you would for a headache. Examples of these are Tylenol or Advil.
Irritation of lips and cheeks
Ligatures come off the brace while eating sticky foods
Small round donut shaped elastic ligatures are used to keep the wire and brace together (in the following image, they are light blue). If sticky foods are eaten, they can partially or completely come off the brace.
Using small tweezers, they can be put
back around the brace.
Brace is knocked during sport or while eating a hard food
If a brace is knocked during sport or while eating a hard food, the attachment to the tooth will fail. This is often first noticed when brushing and the brace appears off of center on the tooth.
A visit to the orthodontic specialist is necessary to repair this type of problem. Occasionally, the brace is rotated on the wire and sticks out into the lip.
Again tweezers may be used to correct this problem. First slide the brace so that it is in between two teeth. Then push the brace around and back up against the tooth.
If a wire is protruding out the end of the last brace or if a thin wire is coming off the braces and irritating your lips and cheeks, a small key chain nail clipper can be helpful.
Use the clipper to cut the wire.
It may be helpful to use a folded Kleenex to trap the piece of wire.
Ways to prevent Orthodontic Emergencies
Storing a removable appliance or retainer
A removable appliance or retainer is only safe in two places. In your mouth or in the retainer case provided by your orthodontic specialist. Never place them in a purse, pocket or anywhere else where they can be damaged.
Removing an appliance or retainer when eating out
When eating out it is recommended that you remove your retainer. All too often the retainer case is not available. Please, do not wrap the retainer in a tissue or napkin. This eventually results in the retainer being discarded.
When removing your headgear, always disconnect the strap prior to removing the metal facebow. Failure to disconnect the strap could lead to serious injury.