With our patients' excellent cooperation and our careful care, emergencies will be kept to a minimum and will not be uncomfortable enough to limit regular activities. None the less, the discomfort from a problem with the braces can be a less than pleasant experience. We’ve listed some of the more common problems and some possible solutions to deal with the situation until we can see you here in the office. This list is only intended to provide general information regarding some of the more common orthodontic emergencies. It should not be used instead of a call or visit to Dr. Jet.
Broken or loose brackets are usually not an urgent problem. There are times however when a loose bracket may cause some problems, so it is best to call our office when a bracket is loose and ask our staff for their recommendation. When a bracket comes off of a tooth, it is still normally attached to the wire which will prevent the bracket from being swallowed, but it may move or spin around on the wire. If this is uncomfortable for the patient, a little wax pressed against the bracket will keep it from moving around.
When a band (ring around a tooth) comes loose, the patient is in no immediate harm. The band is usually cemented on the tooth with an adhesive that seals the inner portion of the band from saliva and plaque. If the band is left loose for a period of time (3-4 weeks), saliva and bacteria may enter into the crevice between the tooth and the band and could potentially discolor the tooth. A loose band can also be uncomfortable, so a call to our office is in order when a band is loose.
As the teeth move in the early phase of treatment, the wire will begin to get longer at the back of the braces and will sometimes poke into delicate tissue causing discomfort. Fortunately, most times this can be handled at home with the orthodontic wax we gave you when the braces were put on. First, dry the area as best you can (with a paper towel or tissue), then roll a piece of wax between your finger tips into a ball. Place the ball of wax onto the poking wire. The wax will smooth the wire and help to keep the tissue from getting caught on the end. If wax doesn’t fix the problem, please call our office to come in and get the wire clipped.
Please call our office immediately if a dental injury occurs while in braces. While there may be no need for concern, Dr. Jet should always evaluate the injury to see if there has been any damage to the braces, teeth or jaw.
If an appliance becomes loose, it may be more urgent to come into the office, since the appliance may become uncomfortable for the patient. Also, if the appliance is not in its proper position, or if it falls out completely, the correction that has already been achieved may be lost.
If braces have recently been removed, there is a greater chance that the teeth will shift and move if a retainer is not replaced relatively quickly. If a patient has been out of braces for a long period of time, and the teeth are in a relatively stable position, the chance of significant shifting may be low. Please call us if your retainer becomes lost or broken and we can schedule an appropriate appointment.
When first put on, braces can have a tendency to feel rough against the cheeks, lips, and tongue. This will sometimes lead to discomfort. The tissues will develop a callous over time, so this becomes less of a problem as treatment progresses. Wax can be helpful in areas that are particularly uncomfortable; however, limiting the use of wax will help to build up the callous tissues. Temporary pain relief can also be obtained with sparing use of topical anesthetics such Orabase.