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How to Handle Orthodontic Emergencies?

Orthodontic emergencies have easy solutions.

Nowadays orthodontic appliances are more efficient and stronger than ever, providing you and your family with comfort while going through orthodontic treatment. However, accidents still happen, and unfortunate events can cause some damage to your braces. The best thing you can do is to prepare for such possible situations by knowing what you should do should an emergency happen to you.

How to Handle Orthodontic Emergencies?

Throughout your time with braces, you may go through a few orthodontic emergencies. To learn how to handle them, however, you should first know exactly what an orthodontic emergency is. An orthodontic emergency generally constitutes damage to your orthodontic appliance or damage to the inside of your mouth by the appliance itself. Fortunately for most braces patients, these situations are not life-threatening and do not require an immediate visit to your dentist’s office.

If by any chance you do find yourself in a situation with serious bleeding, infection, or trauma, contact your orthodontist for an emergency appointment. Regardless of the location of the injury, if you consider the injury life-threatening, go immediately to an emergency room.

Broken or Loose Brackets

A bracket is a small piece of metal that sticks to the front part of your tooth and helps hold the metal wire, also known as an archwire, in place. Sometimes this metal bracket can loosen and run along the archwire or detach completely and fall off.  For the first scenario where the metal piece is no longer attached to the tooth but still holds onto the metal wire, you can try putting it back into place with a pair of sterile tweezers. Alternatively, you can put some dental wax over the bracket to stick it in place. If the bracket came off entirely, try to keep it safe and call your orthodontist to inform them about the situation.

Brackets are essential in pulling your teeth into their desired position, if they break and aren’t replaced for a long period you could run the risk of slowing down your treatment’s progress significantly.

A Ligature Breaks

A ligature is what holds the archwire and the bracket together. Most metal bracket braces in Peabody have elastic ligatures, which means that a tiny rubber band attaches to both the bracket and wire to hold it in place. If this type of ligature were to break or come off, there is little to nothing you can do about it. If the elastic is still intact, you can try attaching it again with a pair of tweezers. If the rubber bands snaps, however, your only option is to call your orthodontist to schedule a new appointment as soon as possible, remember that once a ligature breaks more are likely to follow.

If a metal wire ligature comes loose, you can try to bend it back in place or at least move it out of the way of your more sensitive tissue to avoid irritation and discomfort. Remember to talk with your orthodontist as soon as possible, they will give you more specific advice on what to do next.

What Can I Do if the Wire Is Sticking Out?

It’s normal for your archwire to slide out of place after various days of use and continuous movement. If this happens and the metal wire starts poking your inner cheek or gums, you can try out a few different homemade solutions before calling your orthodontist. First, try pushing the wire back into position with a Q-tip or the eraser part of a pencil. If that doesn’t work you use the dental wax that your orthodontist most likely gave you, just make a small ball of wax and stick it to the poking end of the wire.

If you can’t push it into place and don’t have any wax available, you can bend the wire to be flat against your tooth, or maybe even bend it inward so that the pointy end points toward your bracket. If all else fails, then you can consider cutting the metal wire with a pair of wire cutters.

Can I Cut the Braces’ Wire at Home Without a Wire Cutter?

Yes, you can cut your braces’ wire without a wire cutter. Once again you should only opt for this alternative as a last resort. For those that don’t have a wire cutter at hand, you can use a pair of nail clippers. Pull your cheek gently to not cut yourself and proceed to cut the wire. When possible, have someone help you as it can be quite difficult to see something inside your mouth.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Help

Although it can feel embarrassing at times, you should always remember that the best course of action for your treatment and your comfort is to inform your orthodontist of the situation right away.  Because of that, and if you are looking for Peabody orthodontics for teens, here at Pavlo Orthodontics, we’ll be more than happy to help you with your situation.