How To Handle Some Common Orthodontic Emergencies [BLOG]

Orthodontic emergencies are pretty rare. But given that you’ll wear your braces or other orthodontics for quite some time, you may experience a few problems along the way.

The good news is, many issues can just wait until your next scheduled appointment. You can call our Boca Raton, FL orthodontists any time you have a problem at 561-327-6775, especially if discomfort is involved. We’ll advise you as to whether you need to come in. And we make time for orthodontic emergencies at our two locations.

It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with common orthodontic terms so you can more easily discuss orthodontic emergencies and other issues with us.

Even better news: you can actually handle many orthodontic emergencies yourself with common household materials like tweezers, nail clippers, and wax. You’ll still need to come see us, but you can make yourself more comfortable in the meantime.

Here are some of our tips for handling common orthodontic emergencies.

How to Relieve General Soreness

Though not exactly an orthodontic emergency, general soreness is common when you first get your braces. We suggest:

  • Rinsing your mouth a few times a day with warm saltwater (about a teaspoon of salt dissolved in 8 ounces of water)
  • Applying Orabase or a similar topical pain reliever, which you can buy at drugstores
  • Taking ibuprofen or other over-the-counter pain reliever
  • Eating soft foods, and especially cold foods like ice cream

Your lips, cheeks, and tongue may feel irritated while you become used to wearing braces. These areas will toughen over time, so any tenderness should go away after the first few weeks. Applying wax to your braces, which we’ll provide, will help.

How to Use Wax for Your Braces

We can show you how, but here are some tips on using wax for your braces:

  • Don’t use too much wax. Roll a tiny piece of wax into a ball. It shouldn’t be much larger than a kernel of popcorn. Rolling it will soften it to make it easier to use. If you use too much, the wax will fall off.
  • Dry your braces first. This will help the wax adhere to your braces.
  • Replace wax often. Remove wax when eating. And remove it before you brush your teeth so it doesn’t get caught in your toothbrush. We suggest replacing it at least twice a day. Don’t leave it on for more than two days.
  • Don’t worry if you swallow it. Though you won’t want to swallow it if you can help it, there’s no harm if you do. Nothing in it can hurt you.

How to Fix a Loose Bracket or Loose Wire

Brackets hold the wires of your braces in place. If a bracket or band on your braces is loose but still attached to the wire, the best thing to do is leave it in place and apply wax to it. If the wire comes out completely, wrap your bracket in a tissue, put it into a secure container like an envelope or a baggie, and get to our Boca Raton, FL orthodontist office or our Coral Springs orthodontist office as soon as possible.

For a loose wire, use tweezers to try to put it back into place. You can also use wax to help secure it. If this doesn’t work and it is uncomfortable, you can use a small nail clipper to clip the wire behind the last tooth to which it is securely fastened. Wrap gauze or a tissue around the end being clipped to avoid accidentally swallowing it. Clip it as closely as possible, and secure it with wax. Again, call our orthodontists right away.

How to Address a Poking Wire

If your wire is poking out and causing irritation, use a pencil eraser to gently push it back down. If you can’t get the wire into a position that relieves your discomfort, you can also put wax on it to minimize any pain.

How to Avoid Orthodontic Emergencies

The best way to handle an orthodontic emergency is to keep it from occurring in the first place! Here are some tips for avoiding orthodontic emergencies:

  • Don’t eat hard, sticky, or crunchy foods. Stick to softer foods as much as possible.
  • If you participate in sports or other physical activities, let our Boca Raton, FL orthodontists fit you for a custom mouthguard to protect your teeth and braces.
  • Don’t brush or floss too vigorously.

We’re happy to help you with orthodontic emergencies, or anything else! Call Smiles by Dr. W and Dr. R at 561-327-6775.