Orthodontic Problems and How to Handle Them

Unfortunately, emergencies can happen and you may first refer to this list for the most common type of ways to take care of the problem. We do recommend using a mouth guard if you are involved in any contact sports. Please see us for recommendations.

Wax - Wax can be used if a bracket or for any wire that is causing an irritation inside your mouth. A small piece is pinched off and placed between the fingers to soften/warm it up and then placed directly where needed which makes the area smooth. It will need to be replaced after brushing your teeth.

Loose band/bracket - Be careful as eating crunchy in addition to sticky foods can cause brackets and bands to loosen. If a band becomes loose you may be able to gently push it back onto the tooth and maintain there until you are able to come to the office. If this can't be done you may try to remove it. If comes off, contact our office as soon as possible. Please keep the band and bring it with you to the office.

If a bracket comes loose it usually is fine to wait until the next business day to call for it to be replaced unless it starts to irritate the gums or the inside of the mouth. You can also place a small amount of wax to keep it from moving around the wire or use a set of tweezers if it rotates on the wire and begins to cause irritation. If you cannot make it comfortable, please call us and we will remove the bracket to make you comfortable.

If a wire becomes irritating you may be able to use the eraser end of a pencil or a cotton swab and gently push it back into place. If this can't be done, we recommend placing wax and call our office. If the wire comes out of a back band or bracket, try to reinsert it with your fingers or a small tweezers if it is poking. Otherwise you can leave it if it is not causing any discomfort. You may also use wax. Cutting it with a nails clipper may be considered if you can't come into the office right away, but this is tricky to do.

For any appliance that becomes loose or breaks, please call our office so that we can repair or replace the appliance. Save the broken piece and bring it in. If the appliance becomes loose try to remove it if you are able to do so and call our office. Again use wax if there is any part causing irritation.

For any irritation, you may rinse with warm salt water or use any commercially available hydrogen peroxide rinse in addition to using wax.

Discomfort - You may experience some tenderness for a couple of days after the braces are placed or an adjustment has been made. We recommend Tylenol or Advil – whatever you take for a headache – will help.

Puffy gums - Many times puffy gums are due to improper brushing and flossing. You may also find that your gums will bleed. Don't let that keep you from brushing and flossing. The gums will recede over time. Rinsing with warm salt water or using a commercially available hydrogen peroxide rinse will also help. The gums can also get puffy due to irritation if a band or bracket loosens or by the end of the wire, so check to make sure nothing is loose or that wire did not shift.

Loose teeth - When the braces are placed, the teeth can become loose as they move through the bone. Once the braces are removed, the teeth will tighten while the retainers are being worn.

After hour emergencies - If you have an emergency in the evenings or on weekends, please call our office at 722-0530 as to how to contact us. For any trauma involving your teeth or jaws, such as a skateboard accident, you may also call your family dentist or need to go to the emergency room, especially of you cannot reach us right away.