Emergency Care for Braces
These are some of the situations that may arise and some direction on how to deal with them.
Mouth Sores or General Discomfort – Topical anesthetics such as Orabase and Ora-Gel that are applied with a cotton swab to problem areas can provide some relief. For general discomfort, it is best to eat soft foods. The patient may want to rinse their mouth with warm salt water. Ibuprofen and other over-the-counter pain relievers can be effective in reducing discomfort. If the tenderness is severe, take whatever over the counter pain medication that you normally take for headache or similar pain. The lips, cheeks and tongue may also become irritated for one or two weeks as they become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can put wax on the braces to lessen this.
Loose Band or Bracket, Loose Appliances
If the band/bracket is still attached to the wire, leave in place. If uncomfortable, place wax on it. If it comes out completely, wrap bracket/band or appliance in tissue. Call our office to schedule a repair visit. Call even if you have an upcoming appointment since repairs of this nature usually take additional time. Broken appliances will delay treatment time and need to be repaired as soon as possible.
Try to place wire back in place with tweezers or needle nose pliers. If that is not possible, clip the wire with fingernail clippers behind the last tooth to which it is securely fastened. If uncomfortable, place wax on it.
If a wire causes irritation, using a pencil eraser or a Q-tip, push the poking wire down and away from the area, or place wax on it to alleviate the discomfort.
Ball up a small amount of the wax with your fingers
Dry off your brace with a paper towel
Mash the wax against your bracket to make a small comfort mound
Replace if necessary. And don’t worry if you happen to swallow this, it’s just wax
If you lose a separator, please call our office to determine if it needs to be replaced.
If you play any sports that normally require a mouthguard without braces, we recommend you wear one with braces. They are available in the office and at most retail stores. They can definitely help prevent many orthodontic emergencies and certainly serious traumas.
While playing musical instruments use wax to help with any discomfort as a general rule, call our office as soon as possible for an orthodontic repair appointment. Repairs are made when there is severe discomfort, a loose band, a broken wire or something sticking out that you can’t take care of. Please do not come directly to the office – by calling us, you will allow us to create a time to see you. Even if you have a regular appointment scheduled, call us immediately to notify us if you need a repair appointment. If you need help identifying the cause of the problem, please see our braces diagram in the types of braces section.