How to Deal with Three Common Orthodontic Emergencies

Girl with braces not worried about an orthodontic emergencyThe mouth is a harsh environment that experiences near-constant use. If you wear orthodontics of any kind – traditional metal braces, tooth-colored bracket braces, or Invisalign adult braces – you can expect something to go wrong at some point during your treatment. Ultimately, you will need to visit your orthodontist to have the problem repaired or replaced, but knowing what first aid steps to take can help you avoid serious damage to the appliance and to your mouth.

Problem 1: Your Wire, Bracket, or Band is Loose

Sometimes, a wire can loosen and irritate the sensitive tissues of your inner cheeks and lips. Gently push the wire down using a soft, blunt instrument (a pencil eraser is ideal for this purpose) and use a small ball of orthodontic wax to cover the wire. If a bracket loosens but is connected to the wire, apply ortho wax to hold it in place. If the bracket has detached entirely, wrap it securely in tissue, place it in a zip-top storage bag, and bring it with you to your appointment.

Problem 2: You’ve Lost an Aligner Tray

Invisalign clear aligners are a great way to straighten your teeth without the look and discomfort associated with metal braces. However, with great braces come great responsibilities. Since you remove the aligner trays for eating, drinking, and brushing, it’s easy to misplace them. Should you lose a tray, your orthodontist can order a replacement, but in the meantime you will either need to wear the previous tray or move on to the next tray. Don’t go without wearing a tray, even for a few days.

Problem 3: Your Mouth Hurts

No matter what kind of braces you opt for, all orthodontic treatments will have some associated discomfort, especially after having wires tightened or switching up to a new aligner tray. Take an appropriate dose of over-the-counter pain medication and stick to softer foods for a few days. If your brackets irritate your cheeks or lips, apply orthodontic wax to soften the edges.

Orthodontic Emergency Pro Tip: Be Prepared

Once you’ve committed to getting braces but before you go in to have them placed, you should assemble a special first aid kit solely for dealing with orthodontic emergencies. Stock your first aid kit with:

  • Orthodontic wax
  • Extra floss threaders and orthodontic tooth brushes
  • OTC pain relief medication, like ibuprofen or Tylenol
  • Brace gel (or another mild antiseptic pain relief gel for treating sore or abraded cheeks)
  • Your orthodontist’s office number

About Dr. Cabal

Dr. Ciro Cabal is a dedicated family orthodontist who’s known a passion for providing dental care since his early teens, and continues to serves patients of all ages from Ft. Worth, Azle, Saginaw, Springtown, Weatherford, Haslet, and the surrounding communities. To schedule an appointment, call Lake Country Orthodontics today at (817) 236-7846.