The holiday season is upon us! With that, may come an increase in orthodontic “emergencies.” Luckily, there are very few true emergencies in orthodontics. If you’re having trouble with your braces or Invisalign treatment over the holiday season and your orthodontist’s office is closed, here is what to do:
Braces Problems that May Arise:
Loose Band or Bracket:
- If the band or bracket is still attached to the wire, leave it in place. If it is not causing pain, then no big deal – your orthodontist can fix it at your next appointment. If it is uncomfortable, dry the area and place some wax over it. If the band or bracket comes out, remove it and place it in a zip lock baggie to bring to your next appointment.
- If possible, place the wire back in the bracket slot with tweezers. If that doesn’t work, carefully cut the wire with sharp clippers (finger nail clippers work well) and remove the broken portion. To reduce the possibility of swallowing the snipped piece, place folded tissue or gauze around the area. If it is poking and uncomfortable, place wax over the sore area.
- If your wire has shifted and is poking your cheek, try to shift it back with tweezers. If that doesn’t work, use a Q-tip or pencil eraser to push the wire so that it is flat against your tooth. If it is still poking, dry the area and place wax.
Lost Color Tie or Wire Tie:
- No worries, just let us know at your next appointment and we will fix it
- Soreness is common, especially if you recently got your braces on or had a big adjustment appointment. Soft foods (we recommend your favorite ice cream), warm salt water rinses, and the same over the counter pain medication you normally take for aches and pains will help.
A Loose Appliance:
- If a band is bouncing up and down on your tooth, it is most likely loose. Try to keep it in place and we will fix it at your next appointment.
Invisalign Problems that May Arise:
Lost or Broken Aligner:
- If your aligner gets lost, broken, or your dog chews it – don’t worry. If you were almost done with that aligner and it was fitting well, you can try in the next aligner. If it fits, then you are ok to move forward.
- If you were not almost done with the lost aligner or if the next aligner does not fit well, drop back to your previous aligner. Contact our office and we will order a replacement tray.
- Remember, it is better to wear an aligner a little bit too long than to proceed to the next aligner too quickly.
A Broken Attachment:
- If an attachment breaks, do not proceed to the next aligner. Stay in your current aligner and call our office to schedule an appointment to replace the attachment.
An Aligner Doesn’t Fit Well:
- If your new aligner does not fit snugly against your teeth, go back to your previous aligner and wear it for a few more days. Once that aligner feels loose, proceed to the next aligner again. If it still does not fit properly, call our office to make an appointment.
If you have a more urgent emergency, such as swelling, difficulty breathing, extreme pain, or a rash, there is a good chance it is not related to your orthodontic treatment. Seek medical care as needed.
We hope these tricks help you enjoy the holidays, emergency free! As always, contact your orthodontist with any other questions.
Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
— Dr. Kirsten Frazier