If you have suffered from an accident or injury to your teeth please contact our office or your general dentist immdiatelt. Injuries from blows to the mouth, teeth, or jaws may cause harm that requires special attention. Examples of these types of emergencies include chipped, broken, or displaced teeth, severe cuts to the lips or gums, swelling, and trauma to the jaw that cause pain when opening the mouth or an inability to open the mouth. Other signs or symptoms that should be evaluated are changes in the color of the teeth or severe discomfort that impairs your ability to preform normal activities such as going to school or work.
Loose Brackets, Wire or Bands
Brackets are the parts of braces attached to teeth with a special adhesive. They are generally positioned in the center of each tooth. The bracket can be knocked off if the patient has eaten one of those hard or crunchy foods orthodontic patients are to avoid, or if the mouth is struck while at play. If the bracket is off center, the adhesive may have failed. If the loose bracket has rotated on the wire and is sticking out and the patient cannot be taken to the orthodontist, you can do a temporary fix to alleviate discomfort and prevent further damage. To put the bracket back in place, use sterile tweezers to slide the bracket along the wire until it is between two teeth. Rotate the brackets back to the proper position, then slide it back to the center of the tooth. As long as the bracket or wire is not poking or causing the patient discomfort, then it is ok to wait until the patients next appointment for repair.
It's normal for you to have discomfort for a day or two after braces or retainers are adjusted. But it can make eating uncomfortable. The discomfort is both normal and temporary. Soft foods are encouraged. Rinse your mouth with warm salt water. If you do not have any allergies to the medications, over-the-counter pain relivers (aspirin or ibuprofen) may also be taken per the instructions of the medication's label. Any pain relievers should only be needed for the first few days after the braces have been adjusted.
Ligatures Come off
Tiny rubber bands or small fine wires known as ligatures, hold the wire to the bracket. If a rubber ligature should come off, you may be able to put it back in place using sterile tweezers. If a wire ligature comes loose simply remove it with sterile tweezers. If the wire ligature is sticking out into the lips but is not loose, it may be bent back down with a Q-tip or pencil eraser to eliminate the irritation. Missing or broken ligatures should be brought to the attention of the parent/guardian, but usually can wait until your next appointment.
Some patients are susceptible to episodes of mouth soures. While braces do not cause them, they may be exacerbated by an irritation from braces. One or several areas of ulceration of the cheeks, lips or toung may appear. This is not an emergancy, but may be very uncomfortable for you. Prompt relief may be achieved by applying a small amount of topical anesthetic (such as Orabase or Ora-Gel) directly to the uncerated surfae using a cotton swab. Reapply as needed.
Irritation of Lips or Cheeks
Somethimes new braces can be an irritation to the mouth, especially when you are eating. A small amount of relief wax makes an axcellent buffer betewwn metal and mouth. Simply pinch off a small piece and roll it into a ball the size of a small pea. Flatten the ball and place it completely over the area of the braes causing irritation. You may eat more comfortably. If the wax is accidentally ingested, it's not a problem the wax is harmless.
Occasionaly, the end of a wire will work itself out od place and irritate your mouth. Use a Q-tip or pencil eraser to push the wire so that it is flat against the tooth. If the wire cannot be moved into a comfortable position, conver it with relief wax. (see Irritation of lips or cheeks above for instructions on applying wax) In a situation where the wire is extremely bothersome you may clip the wire. Use a pair of sharp clippers and snip off the protruding wire. Relief wax may still be necessary to provide comfort to the irritated area.
- A - Archwire: The archwire is tied to all the brackets and creates force to move teeth into proper alignment.
- B - Brackets: Brackets are connected to the bands, or directly bonded on the teeth, and hold the archwire in place.
- C- Metal Bands: The band is the cemented ring of metal which wraps around the tooth.
- D - Ligature: The archwire is held to each bracket with a ligature, which can be either a tiny elastic or a twisted wire.
- E - Hooks and Elastics: Hooks are used for the attachment of rubber bands, which help move teeth toward their final position.