During the course of your orthodontics treatment you may experience a small mishap with your appliance. This can happen, especially if you wear traditional braces with brackets and wires, so do not worry.  We have some tips to help walk you through minor braces emergencies.

You may occasionally experience a broken bracket or wire. This breakage is not a cause for panic, however. It may cause some discomfort, and if left for too long without being corrected, it could disrupt your treatment time. Most minor emergencies can be handled by you until you are able to see us.

We always want you to protect your mouth first. A broken wire could be sharp and could hurt the inside of your mouth. If you are not able to see us right away, there are a few things you can do to help your comfort level. First, if the wire has become loose from a bracket and is hurting the inside of your mouth, you can use clean tweezers or even the end of a pencil to see if you can gently push the wire back into place. If you cannot perform this task and the wire is hurting the inside of your mouth, use a clean pair of fingernail clippers to snip the wire at the place closest to the last bracket to where it is still attached. Then you can use orthodontic wax over it to protect your mouth until you are able to visit our office.

A loose or floating bracket probably will not cause any pain but may be annoying. We use a special bonding agent to adhere each bracket to your teeth. While it is rare, a bracket could come loose. Use a clean pair of tweezers to slide the bracket back into a comfortable position. Then, call us to schedule an appointment to have it re-bonded to the tooth.

It is very important to avoid foods that are on the do-not-eat list. We do not ask you to avoid these foods to make your treatment harder, but because we want your braces to last. Eating crunchy, chewy, sticky, or hard foods can bend wires or pull brackets off. Eating these types of foods can then impede your treatment. If you have a bent wire, it is important to call us right away to schedule a time to get it corrected. A bent wire will not be placing the right force to guide your teeth, and if left for too long, it could alter your treatment.

To avoid damaging your brackets and wires, we recommend the following:

  • Just say no to the foods we have asked you to avoid.
  • Protect your mouth during contact sports or any sports where a blow to the face could occur.
  • Brush your teeth gently using a soft-bristled brush so you do not dislodge a bracket or bend a wire.
  • Pay close attention when flossing so you do not use too much force and bend a wire.

If you wear Invisalign, there is less risk for any sort of minor emergency while in treatment. However, it is important to take good care of your aligners. Damage to them can alter their fit and thereby alter your treatment. Never eat or drink anything but water while aligners are in your mouth. Do not soak your aligner in hot water or store it some place too warm. Heat can warp the plastic and alter the fit.

If you experience any sort of minor emergency while in treatment, call our office right away. We will do our best to schedule your appointment as soon as we can so your treatment can stay on track.