How to Avoid Emergencies
Many orthodontic emergencies can be prevented. Broken brackets, bent wires, and loose bands are often caused by eating hard and/or sticky foods. By avoiding foods that are hard or sticky, you can avoid most breakages that result in orthodontic emergencies.
If you're playing any sports, we recommend a mouthguard, which will help miminize any breakage should you be hit in the mouth. Our patients have had the best success with the Braces Mouthguard (for most sports) or the Double Braces Mouthguard (for wrestling and martial arts), both made by Shock Doctor Mouthguards. We've found that the Double Braces Mouthguard stays in place best. These mouthguards are available from many sports stores, Canadian Tire, and online at Shock Doctor Mouthguards. However, an ill-fitting mouthguard or chewing on a mouthguard should be avoided since these things can also lead to breakage of braces and appliances. If you purchase a mouthguard, we are happy to help fit it for you -- just call the office and we'll make you a fitting appointment!
Remember – fewer breakages means faster treatment!
What to Do in Case of Emergency
Call our office as soon as possible if you have had an accident involving the teeth and/or braces, if you break or loosen any of your appliances, if you have lost any of your appliances or retainers, or if you have a wire poking. After hours we have voice-mail and email that you can use to let us know about your problem, and in the event that the problem requires immediate urgent attention, an emergency contact phone number is provided by our voice-mail message. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can address the problem so as to avoid any delays in your treatment. Broken braces and appliances can set back your treatment significantly!
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 an appliance repaired. Otherwise, we may not have adequate time for repair and may not be able to perform the treatment originally planned, wasting a trip to our office and an appointment time.
What to Do in Case of an Accident Involving the Teeth and Braces
Call our office immediately. If the accident occurs after-hours, call the emergency contact phone number provided by our voice-mail message. Many times these situations are best managed within an hour of the accident to minimize the discomfort and expedite a return to normal. A guide to managing broken, loosened, or knocked out teeth can be found here.
Loose Brackets or Bands
Call our office immediately for advice if a bracket or wire is loosened. The bracket may need to be re-fitted as soon as possible. You may have a situation that requires cutting a wire or sliding a bracket off a wire at night or over the weekend. Always contact the office emergency phone line first if you have such a situation after hours to obtain appropriate advice for the management of the problem. As a very last resort, if you need to cut a wire to eliminate a painful situation, you may use fingernail clippers that have been washed and sterilized in alcohol. Please call our office the next business day or leave us a message, so that we may schedule an appointment for you.
Sometimes discomfort caused by a wire on your braces can be resolved by moving the wire away from the irritated area with a cotton swab or eraser. If the wire will not move, try covering the end of it with a small piece of cotton or a small amount of wax (we have provided comfort wax in your “care kit” when your treatment started). If you cannot resolve the wire irritation, call our office for an appointment.
Many patients lose a separator during their treatment. Since these can usually be replaced by the patient or parent, we will show you how to do so at the treatment visit when they are inserted. Do not worry about losing a separator, but do call our office to see if it needs to be replaced.
Discomfort with Orthodontic Treatment
During the first few days after your braces are in place or after routine adjustments are made, you will likely feel some soreness or discomfort. You may take Advil or Tylenol while you adjust to your new braces. A warm wash cloth or heating pad may reduce the soreness in your jaws.
Lost or Broken Retainers
When your treatment with braces is finished, you will get a set of retainers, usually a clear upper Essix retainer and a bonded lower retainer. These are extremely important appliances, as they ensure that your teeth stay straight over the years. Should you lose or break one of these appliances, call the office immediately to have it repaired or replaced. Teeth have a tendency to move during your entire lifetime, even ones that were straight originally, especially if the braces were removed recently. It would be a shame to see your teeth get crooked again after all the time and effort you put into getting your great result!