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Orthodontic Emergencies — What to Do at Home and While Traveling

By July 8, 2019Blog

orthodontic-emergencyWhen you’re new to braces or Invisalign, it’s totally natural to worry that something might go wrong. But try not to let your concerns get the best of you! The patients at our orthodontic offices in Simpsonville and Greer hardly ever have any trouble throughout their treatment. Full-blown orthodontic emergencies are extremely rare and the issues that typically arise, like broken brackets or pokey wires, are minor. Better yet, these problems are easily treatable and, as long as you get them fixed quickly, they won’t cause any delays to your orthodontic treatment.

The best way to combat fear is to be prepared for the worst to happen, no matter how unlikely it might be. So if you’re really stressed about what to do when a bracket comes off or if your elastics come loose, Davis Orthodontics is here to help you find solutions in the moment. Whether you’re at home or traveling abroad, there are many simple ways to fix the problem on your own. Here’s how to troubleshoot common mishaps with your braces on the fly.

Common Invisalign and Braces Problems — And How to Fix Them

While real orthodontic emergencies rarely occur, minor issues may pop up throughout your treatment. Fortunately, it doesn’t take much to find relief and fix the problem fast.

  • Broken or Loose Brackets: This is one of the common braces problems our patients freak out about the most, but it’s nothing to stress yourself out over. Brackets can break off or come loose if you eat hard, crunchy foods or if you get into a collision while playing sports. If this happens, cover the bracket with orthodontic wax to hold it in place and call Davis Orthodontics to find out if you need a refit before your next appointment. If you’re out of town, don’t panic — just keep that wax on tight to prevent the bracket from moving too much, and come see us as soon are you get home.
  • Irritated Lips or Cheeks: This is a super common concern for people with braces, especially at the beginning of treatment. If your braces are irritating your lips or cheeks, orthodontic wax will be your best friend. Just cover the irritating area of your braces with the wax to prevent scratching or poking. You could also make a saltwater solution by mixing one teaspoon of salt with warm water. Swish the rinse around in your mouth before spitting it out to soothe your mouth. Repeat as many times as you’d like throughout the day.
  • Poking Wires: Is a sharp wire poking you in the lip or cheek? Again, orthodontic wax is the answer. Place a ball of wax over the pokey part to create a barrier between the wire and the inside of your mouth. If the offending wire is really long, sterilize a pair of nail clippers and carefully trim away the excess wire. Usually, that will do the trick so if you’re traveling, don’t worry about rushing home to see your orthodontist. If you’re at home, though, it never hurts to have us take a look.
  • Loose Rubber Band: Although it’s not all that common, sometimes the tiny elastics on your braces brackets can come loose. If this happens, sterilize a pair of tweezers with alcohol and try to guide the rubber band back in place. This is tricky to do so if you can’t get it back on, don’t worry about it. Call Davis Orthodontics and we’ll fix you up in a jiffy. If you’re away, use your tweezers to remove the elastic and visit us as soon as you get back.
  • Lost Invisalign Aligner: While there’s not really a solution for this one other than just getting a new aligner, there are preventative measures you can take to make sure this never happens. Always carry your case with you so you can put your aligners away safely when you’re eating. We know if can be tempting to jump ahead to your next set of aligners, but your treatment plan was designed a certain way for a reason. If you lose an aligner, call your orthodontist immediately and they’ll help you decide on the best course of action.

What to Do in a Major Orthodontic Emergency

Like we said, big orthodontic emergencies are extremely uncommon — but that doesn’t mean they never happen. In some cases, serious problems can occur. The most important thing to remember is that it can be fixed so panicking won’t do you any good. Here are a few of the biggest emergencies we’ve encountered and what to do if it happens to you.

  • Accidentally Swallowing a Piece of Your Appliance: Sometimes, a bracket or other piece of your hardware can come loose without you realizing it, meaning you might accidentally swallow it before you have a chance to use one of the handy tricks we mentioned above. If this happens, have a friend or family member shine a flashlight in your mouth to see if they can find it. If it is not visible or if you’re having trouble breathing, the debris may have been aspirated and you should get to an emergency room right away.
  • Traumatic Injury: In rare cases, like car accidents or sporting incidents, your braces may get so damaged that they can’t be repaired at home. If you get hit in the mouth and you’re experiencing heavy bleeding, you might need stitches so it’s best to go straight to the hospital. If a tooth has come loose, try to get to your orthodontist as quickly as possible because it can usually be re-implanted within an hour of the accident. If you’re traveling, this is one of the rare occasions when you’ll need to contact an emergency dentist. Always call us when you get home so we can make sure your treatment stays on track.

No matter what issues arise throughout your orthodontic treatment, remember that there’s always a way to fix it. Whether you can see your orthodontist right away or you need to take care of the problem yourself in the meantime, we’re here to help you navigate your experience with braces or Invisalign. If you encounter any of the above issues, do your best not to stress. Just contact Davis Orthodontics and we’ll steer you in the right direction.