How to Handle a Braces Emergency

Alpharetta, Georgia – Do you know what to do if you suddenly find yourself in an uncomfortable situation with braces that aren’t functioning as they should? Dr. Nima Hajibaik, a Johns Creek orthodontist, offers the following tips for braces wearers.

“In reality, true orthodontics emergencies are very rare,” says Dr. Hajibaik, who is an Invisalign Teen provider. “Broken brackets and loose wires don’t constitute a true emergency, although they are an annoyance. However, if you find yourself experiencing a true emergency, such as a traumatic injury to your face and mouth, call our office right away. For issues that are causing discomfort, schedule an appointment with our office as soon as you can so we can help you correct the problem. In the meantime, though, there are some things you can do.”

Unfortunately, those who wear braces know that general soreness is just part of the road to a healthier smile. Especially when you first get your braces, you may experience soreness in your mouth and teeth. Biting may make your teeth feel sensitive, and this soreness can last for three to five days. Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water can help ease your discomfort. There are also over the counter remedies that may help, such as rubbing Orabase on the sore area. Pain medication, such as Tylenol or Advil, may also help ease the soreness. Also, try sticking to soft foods for the first few days after your braces have been placed on.

It will take a little while for your mouth to get used to the braces, so you may experience some irritation to your lips, tongue and teeth. Ask your orthodontist for orthodontic wax to apply to the braces to help ease this discomfort.

Wearing headgear brings about a different set of comfort issues. Pain can be caused by not wearing the gear correctly, so be sure you listen carefully as your Alpharetta orthodontics expert explains the proper wear to you. The more frequently you wear your headgear, the more comfortable it will be for you.

During the course of wearing your braces, you may find that a bracket or wire comes loose. While this doesn’t constitute an emergency, you should still call our office to have it repaired as soon as possible in order to avoid delays in treatment.

In the meantime, if you have a loose wire, alleviate discomfort by using a Q-tip to push the wire flat against your tooth. If that doesn’t work, simply place orthodontic wax on the loose part to keep it from causing irritation in your mouth. The wax will create a buffer between the wire and your mouth to ease any pain the wire might cause. You can also attempt to put your wire back into place with tweezers. If this doesn’t work, and the wax doesn’t minimize discomfort, have someone use a small pair of fingernail clippers to clip the wire closest to the last tooth it is connected to.
Brackets are gently bonded to the teeth with adhesive, and are typically tough and sturdy. Loose brackets can occur by eating foods that should otherwise be avoided during braces treatment, such as very sticky or hard foods. If the bracket remains attached to the wire, leave it in place and simply put wax on it. However, if the wire comes out completely, wrap the bracket in something safe so you won’t lose it and bring it with you when you visit your orthodontist. Brackets can also sometimes come loose if you get hit in the mouth, so be sure to wear a mouth guard if you are involved in contact sports.

While some general discomfort is associated with braces, call your orthodontist’s office immediately if you experience severe pain. Your orthodontist will schedule an appointment to help ease any discomfort you are feeling. While you can temporarily fix issues such as those listed above, be sure to schedule an appointment with your orthodontist to professionally correct the problem as soon as possible. Wearing damaged appliances for too long can interfere with the effectiveness of your treatment.

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