In general, your orthodontic treatment should progress smoothly. True orthodontic emergencies are rare, but there are many situations that may understandably cause concern. If a piece of your braces becomes loose or broken it’s likely not an emergency and can be taken care of during your next visit at Central Dental. Simply give us a call during normal business hours and explain the situation. In the meantime, you can find temporary solutions to common issues experienced with braces throughout this page.
If you experience an injury or trauma to your face, jaw, mouth, teeth, or feel emergency care is necessary, call our office immediately. Central Dental offers 24-hour, on-call urgent care service for all active and current patients. A doctor or member of our caring staff will call you shortly to address your concerns.
Soreness from Braces
Slight discomfort is to be expected for a day or so after braces are placed or adjusted. It’s not an emergency, but it can be uncomfortable, especially when trying to eat. Eating soft foods for a couple days may help. Soups, stews, and macaroni and cheese are good choices. Over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen may be taken to alleviate the discomfort.
Mouth Sores from Braces
You may experience a few mouth sores when you have braces. These sores may appear inside the cheeks, or on the lips, or even on the tongue. These sores are common and unfortunately, may be uncomfortable. Applying a topical anesthetic like Orabase or Ora-Gel will help alleviate discomfort and facilitate healing. Reapply the anesthetic as often as you need to, and apply it with a cotton swab so you don’t introduce the area to possible infection.
Irritation of Lips and Cheeks from Braces
It takes a little time for your body to become used to the appliances, or braces, in your mouth. Your mouth, cheek, lips, and tongue may become irritated from friction. To help alleviate some of the irritation, Central Dental provided you with relief wax in your orthodontic starter kit. If you have used all of this wax or cannot find it you can purchase more at your local general store. Simply pinch off a small piece of this wax and roll it into a tiny ball. Flatten the ball and place it over the area of the braces that is causing the irritation. If the wax falls off and you swallow it – don’t worry, it’s perfectly harmless. A piece of wet cotton wrapped around the offending attachment or even a small piece of orange peel can do the trick. You’ll be able to eat better, talk better, and feel better just by having a little buffer between your braces and your cheek or lip. If the irritation persists, call us when the office opens and we’ll offer you our first available appointment to address your issue. You may need a simple adjustment.
Food Caught Between Teeth Behind Braces
Food stuck between your teeth and behind your braces can be a both embarrassing and uncomfortable. All you need to fix it is an interproximal brush, toothpick, or a piece of dental floss. If you use dental floss, tie a small knot in the middle of the floss to help remove the food. You can purchase an interproximal brush at your local general store. Always be gentle when clearing food as to not hurt the gums or damage the braces.
Ligature Band Comes Off
The ligature band, or o-tie, is the tiny rubber band that’s stretched around the bracket to hold your wire in place. If your rubber ligature comes off, try to put it back in place with a sterile tweezers. If a wire ligature comes loose, just take it out with a sterile tweezers. If the wire ligature is sticking out into the lip but is not loose, you can try to bend it back with a Q-tip or pencil eraser. Be careful, though. if one ligature pops off or breaks others may as well. If ligatures continue to break, call us for a follow-up visit when the office opens. You may be in need of an adjustment.
Bands or Brackets Become Loose or Broken
If the band or bracket is still attached to the wire, leave it in place. If it is uncomfortable, place relief wax on it. If it comes off completely, wrap the band or bracket in a baggie and bring it with you to your next appointment. Anytime a bracket becomes loose or falls off you need to notify the office staff so they can determine if you need to come in earlier than your next scheduled appointment and ensure there is enough time scheduled to reaffix the band or bracket.
Do not try to re-attach brackets yourself. There is no glue available to the public that is safe to use for this purpose. Furthermore, the doctor calculates the bracket placement specifically to deliver pressure in a way that directs the tooth into alignment.
Loose or Poking Wire
The best way to alleviate the discomfort is to push the wire back down or towards the tooth. Use a Q-tip or pencil eraser to push the wire back so it’s flat against your tooth. If you can’t get the wire back to a comfortable position, cover it with relief wax to have a buffer between your braces and the area of your mouth that is irritated. In an extremely bothersome situation, and as a last resort, clip the wire. Reduce the possibility of swallowing the snipped piece by putting a folded tissue or piece of gauze around the area. Use sharp, sterile fingernail clippers and to clip off the wire. Use relief wax if the area is still irritated. Make a follow-up appointment with the office opens to make sure the braces are still secure and to get a different wire if necessary. If the wire has popped out, try to put it back with a sterile pair of tweezers. If that is not possible, clip the wire with fingernail clippers behind the last tooth to which it is securely fastened.
Loose or Broken Appliance/Retainer
If the appliance is loose and causing irritation, use warm salt water rinses and/or Tylenol or Advil. If the appliance is sticking or poking, place wax on it. Schedule an appointment to be seen when the office opens.
Do not attempt to repair your own appliance or retainer. Appliances are designed to deliver a particular amount of pressure on specific teeth. Appliances can be repaired at times, but only your dentist can determine that it will still function appropriately after the repair. Wearing a retainer that you have attempted to repair yourself may render it ineffective or even redirect pressure to unintended areas.