Patients generally consider any unexpected event associated with braces to be an orthodontic emergency, especially if the event or occurrence causes discomfort. If any unexpected event occurs, patients are urged to call our office and make an appointment to be seen as soon as possible. However, many orthodontic emergencies are actually somewhat minor and can be attended to by patients while waiting to be seen. These actions by the patient can help to eliminate discomfort, but the orthodontist should still be seen later for a more permanent solution.

Orthodontic Emergencies

Protruding Arch Wire

A protruding arch wire can poke the cheeks and cause pain and irritation. An orthodontist should be contacted immediately if an arch wire is protruding, but if the patient cannot be seen, there are steps that can be taken to relieve discomfort and prevent further irritation. The arch wire should be pushed back with a pencil eraser until it is flush with the tooth to stop it from touching the cheeks. If the arch wire cannot be pushed back, relief wax should be applied to the wire to reduce irritation.

Loose Ligatures

The small wires that connect the arch wires to the brackets may come loose and cause irritation. If this occurs, the ligature should be put back in place or removed using sterile tweezers. Loose ligatures often cause a domino effect, so an orthodontist should be notified immediately to properly replace the ligatures as soon as possible.

Loose or Broken Brackets

Brackets may come loose or be broken during play or while eating foods that should be avoided while wearing braces. If a bracket is not centered on the tooth, it should be slid back into place using tweezers. If the bracket has rotated on the wire and the orthodontist cannot be seen immediately, it is possible to flip the bracket back to the proper side in between two teeth, and then carefully slide the bracket into place until help can be sought.

Mouth Sores

Mouth sores are very common when braces are new. An orthodontist should be notified of the sores, but actions can be taken to alleviate discomfort. Ora-Gel or another topical numbing agent can be applied to the areas of the mouth where the sores occur. Dental wax can be applied to the pieces of the braces that are causing irritation to prevent further damage. Most sores will go away as the body adjusts to the braces, but minor adjustments by the orthodontist may help to rectify some issues.

Braces can help to correct alignment and bite issues. This can effectively improve appearance and eliminate certain painful or inhibiting conditions, as well as improving dental and overall health. However, if braces are not properly cared for, it can result in tooth decay and staining. This can be frustrating for those that have spent time and money trying to attain a beautiful smile. How to Prevent Braces Problems

Braces Daily Care

Daily care such as brushing teeth and flossing become especially important when braces are involved. Braces can trap food and sugars against the teeth, which can speed the rate of plague build-up and foster decay. Those wearing braces should brush and floss after eating any food or drinking any beverage other than water in order to keep teeth clean and free of build up. This will help prevent braces problems and further complications with orthodontic treatment.

Special Equipment for Braces Care

A specialized toothbrush called an interdental toothbrush can be purchased to effectively clean behind braces. The head of the toothbrush contains a small, flexible metal rod surrounded by short bristles that is capable of moving between teeth and braces as well as the gaps between teeth. This brush can remove particles which are stuck on teeth better than flossing or brushing alone. A water pic may also help to remove plague and food particles from teeth, keeping teeth healthier while braces are worn.

Eating for Success

When braces are first installed, it is important to eat soft foods in order to reduce mouth soreness and adjust to the feel of the braces. After adjusting to the braces, it is possible to eat foods that are harder or crunchy, but it is recommended that these foods be broken up or cut into pieces. Eating corn on the cob, meat off the bone, or a whole apple may pull and damage braces, which may cause pain.

Avoid Sticky Foods and Sweets

Sticky or chewy foods such as taffy and hard candy may pull on braces and cause mouth pain. These foods may also become stuck to the teeth, and can be very difficult to remove. Both sticky foods and sweets should be avoided to prevent tooth decay and difficulties with braces care. Sucking on highly acidic foods such as lemons should also be avoided, as these may cause lasting damage to enamel.

Regularly Visit Professionals

Attending regular check-ups for dental care and orthodontic adjustments will help to ensure clean healthy teeth that are being corrected at a proper pace with braces. Dental cleanings will remove stains and plague before damage is permanently set, and dentists will often provide helpful tips to make braces care easier or more effective. Orthodontists will check braces for any loosening or damage, correct any issues, and tighten or adjust braces in order to progress correction of conditions.