We provide some instructions below, but we also understand that you may be nervous and would rather talk to us, either on the phone or in person. Please call (614) 848-5001 to tell us about your braces emergency. We will either walk you through the solution, schedule an appointment in an appropriate time frame, or recommend that you contact a Columbus area emergency room.
Food Caught in Teeth or Braces
This can be embarrassing, but it can also be painful and irritating, depending on the type of food particle and where it’s trapped. The best thing to do is to try to remove the piece of food, with dental floss, an interproximal brush, or toothpick. If you are having trouble removing the food with dental floss, try tying a small knot in the string.
Sores and Irritation of the Lips or Cheeks
Sometimes people get painful irritation related to the brackets or wires used in braces. These can look alarming, but they’re not generally serious. The best way to stop irritation and prevent it in the future is by placing some nonmedicated orthodontic wax over the irritating braces. You might also try some topical pain reliever such as Orajel over the irritated area.
Protruding or Poking Wires
If you can see the wires protruding that are responsible for your irritation, then you may be able to move it back into place so it won’t cause further irritation. Simply take a pencil eraser or a cotton swab and push the wire back into place. If the wire is a small one wrapped around the larger archwire, push it close to either the arch wire or the bracket, so it’s pointing inward, but not touching your tooth.
If the archwire is poking you, push it backward toward the tooth, ideally so it’s parallel the tooth and neither poking your cheek or scraping the tooth. In some cases, it may be necessary to cut the wire, but don’t do that until you’ve consulted with us.
Ligatures are the rubber bands or wires that hold the archwire to the brackets. When rubber band style ones come off, you can try using sterile tweezers to replace them. You may get quite good at this by the time your treatment is done, but at first it can be hard, and we’ll be happy to do it for you. Just call us.
Dislodged Bracket or Band
Brackets are the small clasps that are bonded to the side of your tooth. When one of these becomes dislodged from your tooth, it should still be attached to the archwire, thought it may slide along the wire and rotate. This isn’t usually an emergency. Just push the bracket back into place so it’s not irritating you. If it doesn’t want to rotate back to the right orientation, move the bracket along the tooth until you get it to a place between two teeth, then try to rotate it. Place a piece of dental wax to hold it in place, and let us know that it’s come loose. We’ll determine when you need an appointment.
A dental band looks like a metal belt placed entirely around the tooth. These are normally only used when we need to do some “heavy lifting,” so having one dislodged for an extended period of time can delay your results. The band can also trap food and bacteria against the tooth, increasing your risk of decay, so we’ll want to see you as soon as possible.
Injuries While Wearing Braces
If you experienced an injury while wearing braces, try to determine the extent of the injury: whether it’s just to your soft tissue like cheeks and lips, or if the teeth have been damaged, loosened, or dislodged. Contact us right away to let us know the state of the injury, and we will recommend an appropriate response.
If you need clarification, have experienced some other braces emergency, or are having difficulties, please call us at (614) 848-5001 right away for an appointment at the Center for Family & Cosmetic Dentistry in Columbus, OH.