School is out, and summer vacation is here. Do you know what to do if you have an orthodontic emergency while out of town, on vacation, or away at camp? Here are some tips from Dr. Jacob Stadiem at Northeast Orthodontic Specialists.
Fortunately, most problems with your braces don’t qualify as true emergencies. Let’s talk about a few things you can do while away to avoid the inconvenience and expense of finding an emergency orthodontist in an unfamiliar area. Here are some helpful hints on what to do if you have a problem with your braces.
Take a mini emergency kit with you – Include orthodontic wax, nail clippers, or small pair of wire cutters, tweezers, a pencil with an eraser, and our phone number if you need guidance.
How to Fix Braces Wire at Home
Occasionally, the archwire extends in the back or may come right out of the bracket when chewing gum, hard candy, and sticky foods. Use a pencil eraser or something soft to push the wire flat against your teeth. Add wax or sugarless gum to the end of the wire if needed to prevent irritation. If the braces wire breaks, you can clip the wire with a pair of nail clippers, flush to the next anchored bracket – just remember to disinfect the clippers or wire cutters first with rubbing alcohol, if handy, or use the flame on a lighter to kill the germs. Once the wire is clipped, make sure to avoid swallowing the clipped piece of wire.
Broken Braces Wire Causing Irritation
Apply wax to the area causing the irritation. Follow the instructions on the package. If you don’t have wax or run out, sugarless gum works well. If any sores develop, go to a local drug store and buy topical anesthetics like Orabase or Orajel to temporarily numb the area till you return, and we can fix the problem.
If a band around your back teeth comes loose, don’t worry about it unless it is causing problems while you eat. Worst-case scenario, clip the main wire with nail clippers, flush to the next bracket and remove the loose band. Apply wax or sugarless gum if needed to avoid irritation from the cut wire. We can repair it when you return.
Broken or Loose Brackets
Hard foods are the leading cause of loose brackets. During the summer, we all tend to be lax with our everyday routines. However, out of town is not the time to take a chance breaking a bracket by not following the restricted diet. If a bracket does come loose from a tooth, remove the bracket with a pair of disinfected tweezers if you can and continue on your merry way. Don’t forget to contact us when you return so we can schedule an appt to replace the bracket. It is challenging to repair an emergency during your regular appointment when there isn’t sufficient time scheduled to repair.
Loose ligature wire or elastic
If a small elastic ligature (the piece that attaches the archwire to the bracket) comes partially or off your braces, use a pair of disinfected tweezers to put it back into place. If a ligature is lost, don’t worry about it. Call us when you return.
What to Do in a Serious Orthodontic Emergency
If you experience a true orthodontic emergency where you are so uncomfortable that you can’t wait till you get back, contact the local dental society for an orthodontist recommendation. You can also search on your phone for an orthodontist nearest you. Most orthodontists provide an emergency contact number when out of the office and will help an out-of-town patient with emergency orthodontic care. A local emergency room is always a last resort.
Also, don’t hesitate to give us a call to ask us for guidance if you don’t know what to do. Our goal at Northeast Orthodontic Specialists is to provide you with a terrific smile and – just as important – to be sure you are comfortable and safe throughout your treatment, even when you are away.
Do you have any out-of-town orthodontic emergency experiences you would like to share with us? Leave a comment below.