Monday, July 23, 2012

Fortunately, most issues with your braces don't qualify as true emergencies, and there are many things you can do at home to manage these minor occurrences. In some instances you'll need to follow up on your self-care with a visit to our office, but in other cases, a few minutes of attention will solve the problem. Here are some common situations you may encounter while in treatment:
Pain or discomfort after placement or adjustment of your braces
It’s common to experience some pain for a few days after placement and adjustments, and this often makes eating uncomfortable. We recommend taking over-the-counter pain relievers such as Tylenol or Advil. You may want to start your first dose before your office visit, then follow up after your visit, to maximize the effects. As for eating, stick to soft foods whenever your sensitivity is high.
Irritation or sores on lips or cheeks
Especially when braces are first placed – before your mouth adapts to their presence – you may experience some irritation on the inside of your cheeks or lips. We recommend keeping orthodontic wax on hand to apply to your braces; follow instructions for application on the package. It may help to dry the area first with a paper towel. Don’t worry about swallowing the wax; this is common during eating and is harmless. If any sores develop, use topical anesthetics like Orabase or Orajel to temporarily numb the area.
Poking or protruding wire
Occasionally a piece of archwire may come out of place and the end of it can poke the inside of your mouth. If this happens and our office is closed, use a pencil eraser or other soft implement to push the wire flat against your teeth. You can also use orthodontic wax to cover the sharp end of the wire. Visit our office as soon as possible and we will clip the wire for you. As a last resort if our office is closed, you can clip the wire yourself with a pair of nail clippers – but if you do so, disinfect them first with rubbing alcohol and be sure to avoid swallowing the clipped piece of wire.
Loose bracket
Sports and hard foods are the usual culprits behind a loose bracket, so we recommend wearing a mouth guard during athletic activities and following our list of foods to avoid carefully. However, if a bracket does come loose, contact us to make an appointment so we can reset it. In the meantime, you can use a disinfectd tweezers to move the bracket back into place, and if necessary, apply orthodontic wax to hold it there until we can see you.
Loose band
If a band around one of your back teeth loosens, make an appointment with us. It’s important for your orthodontic treatment and your overall oral health that the band be secure to your tooth, so we'll want to fix it as soon as possible.
Loose ligature
If a small elastic ligature (the piece that attaches the archwire to the bracket) comes partially or all the way off your braces, use a pair of disinfected tweezers to put it back into place. If a ligature is lost, stop by our office for a replacement.
True emergencies
If you suspect that a bracket or other piece of your braces may have been aspirated (caught in the airway), visit an urgent care center or emergency room; you will need immediate attention to have it removed. Similarly, if you experience a dental emergency including damage to your mouth or teeth, visit an urgent care center for immediate attention.
At any point in your treatment, if you have questions, don’t hesitate to give us a call. Our goal is to provide you with a terrific smile, and – just as important – to be sure you are comfortable and safe throughout the course of your treatment.