Orthodontic Emergency Care for Braces

Orthodontic Emergency Care for Braces

Missing bands, loose brackets, protruding wires, gum irritation… while you won’t need to be rushed to the hospital in an ambulance for these emergencies, they can still be incredibly painful and require immediate, prompt care. If a bracket pops off in the middle of a Tuesday afternoon, it’s easy to head straight to your orthodontist and be better by dinner. But if the same issue occurs on a weekend when the office is closed or while you’re on a trip out of town, panic may set in. How do I address this problem? Good news: a few simple supplies commonly found at home can remedy many of the problems until an orthodontist is able to provide immediate care.

First, assemble your orthodontic emergency kit. Common tools and supplies include:

  • Non-medicated orthodontic relief wax to address wire and bracket irritation
  • Dental floss to remove stuck food particles
  • Sterile tweezers for fixing ligatures
  • Small, sharp clipper
  • Q-tips
  • Salt
  • Toothpicks
  • Topical anesthetic
  • Salt

Here’s what to do in the event of an orthodontic emergency:

1. Ligature comes off

A ligature is the technical name for the tiny rubber bands that hold the wire to the brackets. If a rubber ligature pops off, you may be able to put it back in place using a pair of sterile tweezers. First, sterilize the tweezers in rubbing alcohol. Next, carefully use the tweezers to return the ligature to its proper position. If a wire ligature is sticking out (but is not loose), bend it down with a Q-tip or pencil eraser to eliminate irritation. Once you’ve resolved the immediate concern, notify your orthodontist. You may need a quick check up to ensure no other ligatures have come loose.

2. Protruding wire

Sometimes the end of a wire will come out of place, causing irritation to the inside of your mouth. Using a similar technique described above, use a Q-tip or pencil eraser to gently flatten the wire against the tooth. You can also apply dental wax to minimize discomfort. If the wire has become incredibly painful and is causing severe irritation of the gums and mouth tissue, another option is to clip the wire. This should be the last resort. Do not try to clip the wire yourself: have a parent, guardian or other adult assist you. First, reduce the possibility of accidentally swallowing the wire by folding tissue or gauze around the area. Next, use a pair of sharp clippers to snip off the protruding wire and then apply relief wax to the irritated area.

3. Loose bracket or wires

This is the most difficult orthodontic emergency to treat at home. In general, as soon as you notice any loosening of a bracket or wire, immediately call your orthodontist to schedule a check-up. Brackets are the metal part of the braces that attach to the center of teeth using a special adhesive. Brackets are typically positioned in the center of each tooth. Most brackets only become loose when they are knocked off from playing contact sports (e.g., you’re struck in the face with a ball or elbowed in the mouth) or from eating hard, crunchy foods (here’s a list to avoid just to be safe!). If the loose bracket has rotated and the wire is sticking out, you can temporarily reposition the bracket using sterile tweezers. Slide the bracket along the wire until it is between two teeth. Rotate the bracket back to its correct position before sliding the bracket back to the center of the tooth.

Orthodontic emergencies are hardly a fun experience, but with the right tools on hand at home, you’ll be able to address much of this discomfort as quickly as possible. Always schedule a follow-up appointment with your orthodontist to discuss the problem. Not sure if metal braces and brackets are worth the discomfort and hassle? Another option is clear aligners from Invisalign, which discreetly straighten teeth without the need for brackets or wires.

Surviving the Holidays with Braces: What Every Parent Needs to Know

Holidays with Braces

From extended family gatherings to decorating and gift shopping, the holidays are a whirlwind of activity that can be stressful for anyone. One way to really up the holiday stress ante? Be the parents of a teen who just got braces!

Getting braces right before the holidays can be an especially challenging experience for teens who may feel anxious over their new appearance. Restrictions on which foods they can eat and new requirements for brushing and flossing can further compound this challenge. More»

Halloween & Braces: What Parents Need to Know

Halloween & Braces

For young kids – and all of us adults who are young at heart – Halloween is an opportunity to indulge guilt-free in our favourite treats without worrying about calories or sugar content. But if you’re the parent of a child with braces, you’ll need to keep a careful eye out on what treats are in your child’s trick-or-treat bag.

Candy apples, caramels, blow pops, tootsie rolls, and other Halloween candy favourites can turn into a huge mess for kids with braces. All those sweet, sticky, and hard sour candies can get stuck between the teeth and braces, or worse, pop a bracket off all together! Unfortunately, this means that chewy candies, hard candies, and homemade treats like popcorn balls are off-limits.

As any parent knows, trying to limit a kid’s Halloween candy indulgence can be pretty difficult. At Docbraces, many of our orthodontists are also parents, so we certainly have some first-hand experience when it comes to navigating this tricky problem. Our solution: focus on what kids can have rather than focusing on what they can’t eat.

Here’s how you can help your child enjoy trick-or-treating and avoid any emergency trips to the orthodontist. More»

A Sticky Mess? How to Enjoy Halloween Candy with Braces

Halloween Candy with Braces

No matter how old (or young) you may be, the best part of Halloween is getting to indulge in all the candy and treats that are normally “off limits” during the year. Enjoying Halloween candy with braces, however, could be challenging, biting into a candied apple or a toffee candy bar could result in a sticky, unpleasant mess. Every year, we treat patients for candy-related emergencies, like popped wires or broken brackets. As anyone who’s found themselves in a similar sticky mess will tell you, Halloween is not the time for an orthodontic emergency!

Candy corn, Starbursts, skittles, Tootsie Rolls, licorice and Snickers candy bars can all spell disaster for your Halloween plans. Can you still get your candy fix without damaging your braces or bending a wire? Absolutely! Just stick to this list of what to eat – and not to eat – to have a fun and disaster-free Halloween. More»

Keeping Braces Clean: What Parents (and Teens) Need to Know

Keeping Braces Clean

Did your teen head back to school with braces this year? If so, you may already be hearing complaints from your teen about how frustrating and embarrassing it is when food gets stuck in their braces during the school day.

Keeping braces clean while on the go can be a huge challenge, especially if your teen doesn’t have the right hygiene tools or understand proper cleaning technique. Sure, teens don’t want to lug around a superstore’s worth of oral hygiene products. It’s uncool and downright awkward. Here’s the good news: a small “go kit” can hold all the essentials your teen needs for a quick cleaning at school without risking social embarrassment. More»

Navigating School Lunch for Kids with Braces

Lunch for kids with braces

Between endless school supply lists and new schedules shuttling kids to after-school activities, calling back-to-school season a hectic time can already feel like an understatement. If your child got braces over the summer, now you’re facing another challenge: how to pack healthy, delicious meals your child will actually eat and won’t contain food that could damage the braces.

Most kids are notoriously picky eaters. Favourite foods need to be prepared just the right way – crusts cut off sandwiches, apples sliced into bite-sized pieces – or kids won’t have anything to do with the food. Throw in the food restrictions that come along with braces, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for mealtime frustrations.

So, how do you pack a school lunch for kids with braces? At Docbraces, we understand that finding the right lunch foods for kids with braces is actually a pretty big challenge. Fortunately, we’ve learned a few tricks along the way to keep kids’ lunches healthy, delicious and braces-friendly. More»

Want to Save Money on Braces? Then Get an Orthodontist’s Second Opinion

Orthodontist Second Opinion

We all deserve a healthy, confident smile. Unfortunately, some people assume that because braces are so costly, they are simply out of reach. That doesn’t have to be the case! If you have received a cost estimate for braces from an orthodontist, it’s very important to get a second opinion from another orthodontist. Why? In some cases, an alternative course of treatment could be more affordable and just as effective. But if you never get an orthodontist second opinion, you may never know that this alternative treatment is even an option. You could be overpaying or worse, missing out on an affordable payment plan. More»

What Do Braces Really Cost?

What Do Braces Really Cost

Cost is one of the top considerations when deciding to get braces. We all want a healthy, confident smile. Unfortunately, it’s a fact of life that it costs less to solve a simple orthodontic problem over a more complex one. For some patients, this means that the dream of a straight, attractive smile feels like a financial impossibility. Here’s some good news: it doesn’t have to be! Yes, braces can feel like a big financial investment. But the right Halifax orthodontist will also help ensure that this investment lasts a lifetime– and is one you can afford no matter your financial circumstances. More»

How to Care for Your Braces: A Guide for New Patients

How To Care For Your Braces

Congratulations! Now that you have braces, you’ve taken an important first step to enhancing your smile’s natural beauty and keeping your teeth healthy. You may also be realizing that many things we take for granted without braces – like the ability to bite directly into an apple or easily floss your teeth at night – are much more difficult or even unsafe now that you have braces!

It’s natural to have questions about what foods are safe to eat, which foods you should avoid, and how best to keep your braces clean.

You may be wondering, “Can I chew gum with braces?” or “How do I get the remains of tonight’s dinner out from my braces?” No one wants food stuck in the wires! This guide will give you a quick overview to learn more about the basics of caring for your new braces.

For more detailed information – including the special items you can use to care for your braces – be sure to download the comprehensive guide from Docbraces, “How to Care for Your Braces.”

More»

How Do Braces Work: Your First Appointment

How Do Braces Work - Your First Appointment

What to Expect During Your First Appointment and Beyond

When was the last time you smiled with confidence or laughed freely? Our self-esteem is directly linked to our appearance. If you are self-conscious about your teeth, you may feel uncomfortable laughing, smiling or even talking up close to a partner. A great smile is more than just a confidence booster– it’s also an indicator of good health. Missing or crowded teeth and jaw misalignments may increase your risk for a host of oral health problems, including tooth decay, tooth loss and facial deformities. More»