Orthodontic Emergency Care

While you have braces, if something breaks or comes loose, it is important to call our office as soon as possible. Most problems can be addressed without having to come into the office.

When you call our office, please explain your emergency and we will guide you regarding what needs to be done next. Below we offer a number of tips for handling basic orthodontic emergencies.

Traumatic Injury

If you experience trauma to your face or mouth or feel emergency care is necessary, call The Ortho Group of Chester County right away. The Ortho Group of Chester County offers 24-hour, on-call urgent care service for patients, so call our office. Our emergency care answering service will contact our on-call staff, and we’ll make sure to take care of you as soon as possible. For emergency orthodontics care call: 484-873-2506

Tips for Handling Some Orthodontic Dental Emergencies:

Soreness from braces
It’s normal to have a little discomfort for a day or two after braces are put in or adjusted at future appointments. Eating soft foods for a couple days may help. Soups, stews and macaroni and cheese are good choices. Over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help, too.
Mouth sores from braces

With traditional braces, you might experience a few mouth sores. These sores may appear inside the cheeks, or on the lips or even on the tongue. These sores are common, and unfortunately may be uncomfortable.

Applying a topical anesthetic like Orabase or Ora-Gel will help you feel better, as well as help the sores heal. Reapply the anesthetic as often as you need to, and apply it with a cotton swab so you don’t introduce the area to possible infection.

Irritation of lips and cheeks from braces

With braces, you have an appliance in your mouth that it simply isn’t used to. It may take a little time for your mouth, cheek, lips and tongue to get used to their new friend. To help alleviate some of the irritation, The Ortho Group of Chester County will provide you with relief wax. Simply pinch off a small piece and roll it into a tiny ball. Flatten the ball and place it over the area of the braces that is causing the irritation.

If the wax falls off, a piece of wet cotton wrapped around the offending attachment or even a small piece of orange peel can do the trick. You’ll be able to eat better, talk better, and feel better just by having a little buffer between your braces and your cheek or lip. If the irritation persists, though, call us. You may need a little adjustment.

Food caught between teeth behind braces
Getting food stuck in between your teeth and behind your braces can be a little uncomfortable and even a little embarrassing. But it’s an easy fix. All you need is a piece of dental floss. Tie a small knot in the middle of the floss to help remove the food. If you don’t have any floss, try an interproximal brush or pick, or even a regular toothpick. Always be gentle as to not hurt the gums or damage the braces.
What to do if a colored O-tie comes off?

The ligature is the tiny rubber band that’s stretched around the bracket. Its job is to hold the wire to the bracket so the wire can deliver force to the teeth and move them. (Sometimes a twisted wire is used instead of a rubber ligature.)

If your rubber ligature comes off, try to put it back in place with sterile tweezers. If a wire ligature comes loose, just take it out with sterile tweezers. If the wire ligature is sticking out into the lip but is not loose, you can try to bend it back with a Q-tip or pencil eraser. Be wary, though. If one ligature pops off or breaks, others may do so, as well. If ligatures continue to break, call The Ortho Group of Chester County for a follow-up visit. You may be in need of an adjustment to make sure those stay on.

What to do if brackets come loose

Brackets serve as handles to hold the wire of the braces in place. Brackets are generally bonded to the teeth with adhesive. They are tough, sturdy and stable. But if you eat hard, crunchy or sticky types of food, the brackets can indeed loosen. If you get hit in the mouth, the brackets can loosen, too. That’s why you should ask your dentist or orthodontist about wearing a mouth guard during any and all types of physical activity.

The best thing to do if a bracket comes loose is to contact our office. We will most likely want to examine your mouth and decide the best course of action to fix the bracket. Sometimes we will recommend that the bracket be put back on at a later date.

If you can’t get to your orthodontist right away, you can do a temporary fix to alleviate comfort and avoid further damage by using sterile tweezers to slide the bracket along the wire until it’s between two teeth. Rotate the bracket back to the proper position, then slide it back to the center of the tooth. Again, this is just a temporary fix to get you by until you can see your orthodontist, which should be as soon as possible.

What to do if a wire comes loose

The arch wire of braces fits in the horizontal slots in each bracket. The wire is secured to all of the brackets, and occasionally, simply by the act of biting and chewing, the end of a wire will work itself out and cause irritation. The best way to alleviate the discomfort is to push the wire back down. Use a Q-tip or pencil eraser to push the wire back so it’s flat against your tooth.

If you can’t get the wire back to a comfortable position, cover it with relief wax to have a buffer between your braces and the area of your mouth that’s irritated. In an extremely bothersome situation, and as a last resort, clip the wire.

Reduce the possibility of swallowing the snipped piece by putting a folded tissue or piece of gauze around the area. Use sharp clippers and snip off the wire. Use relief wax if the area is still irritated. Make a follow-up appointment with The Ortho Group of Chester County to make sure the braces are still secure and to get a different wire if necessary.

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The Ortho Group of Chester County provides specialized, comprehensive orthodontic care for children and adolescents in a fun, stress-free environment that focuses on prevention and education. Our goal is to help your child be healthy and enter adulthood free of dental diseases and dental fears – with good oral health habits that will last a lifetime.

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