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Orthodontic emergencies are rare, so you most likely won't have to deal with them during your treatment.
However, since they do happen on occasion, our Lake Mary patients should know how to handle them appropriately.
Here To Help
The following orthodontic emergencies and their treatments are listed in the order from least severe to most severe.
Only the most severe emergencies require immediate attention by Dr. Beim.
This isn't an emergency, but it can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. It's easily fixed with a regular piece of dental floss.
Try tying a small knot in the middle of the floss to help remove the food or use an interproximal brush or toothpick to dislodge any food stuck between your teeth and your braces.
It's normal for you to experience some discomfort for a day or two after your braces or retainers are adjusted, but it can make eating uncomfortable.
This discomfort is very normal and will only last for a short time.
Try eating soft foods and rinse your mouth with warm saltwater for thirty seconds.
Some patients may be susceptible to mouth sores. While your braces don't cause them, they can cause added irritation, making them worse.
One or several patches of sores may appear on your cheeks, lips or tongue. This is not an emergency, but it can be very uncomfortable for you.
Get quick relief by applying a small amount of topical anesthetic (such as Orabase or Ora-Gel) directly to the area with sores using a cotton swab. You can reapply as needed.
Sometimes new braces can irritate your mouth, especially while you're eating. A small amount of non-medicinal orthodontic wax makes an excellent barrier between the metal and your mouth.
Simply pinch off a small piece of wax and roll it into a ball the size of a small pea. Flatten the ball and place it completely over the area of your braces that's causing irritation.
This should allow you to eat more comfortably. If you accidentally swallow the wax, it's not a problem. The wax is harmless.
Occasionally, the end of a wire may come out of place and irritate the inside of your mouth. Use a Q-tip or pencil eraser to gently push the wire so that it's flat against your tooth.
If the wire cannot be moved into a comfortable position, cover it with orthodontic wax. (See Irritated Lips or Cheeks above for instructions on applying the wax.)
You'll need to make Dr. Beim aware of the problem if this happens to you.
In a situation where the wire is extremely bothersome, and you can't see Dr. Beim anytime soon, you may, as a last resort, clip the wire.
Reduce the possibility of swallowing the snipped piece of wire by using folded tissue or gauze around the area.
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.
If your braces come loose in any way, call Dr. Beim right away to determine the next steps you should take.
Brackets are the parts of braces attached to teeth with a special adhesive. They're generally positioned in the center of each tooth. The bracket can be knocked off if you've eaten one of those hard or crunchy foods you are instructed to avoid, or if the mouth is struck while at play.
We encourage all patients, especially those with braces, to wear a protective mouthguard while playing sports or participating in other physical activities.
If the bracket is off-center, the adhesive may have failed. In this situation, it's best to immediately notify Dr. Beim, who will determine the best course of action.
If the loose bracket has rotated on the wire and is sticking out and you can't make it into our office immediately, you can use a temporary fix to alleviate any discomfort and prevent further damage. Be cautious in order to prevent swallowing the bracket or any other injuries.
This is rare, but when it does happen, it can be alarming. It's important to stay calm in this scenario in order to prevent further damage.
If you're coughing excessively or having difficulty breathing, there's a chance you may have inhaled the piece into your airways or lungs.
If you can see the piece, you may very carefully attempt to remove it.
DO NOT try to remove the piece if you could cause harm.
If appropriate under the circumstances, examine your braces for problems that may result from the missing piece, such as looseness or irritation, and treat as specified above.
If you can't see the piece and believe you may have inhaled it, call Dr. Beim immediately and he'll instruct you on how to proceed.