We are in the midst of the holiday season and that means crazy times for all of us. Our calendars are full with holiday shopping, celebrations and gift giving. Our time seems to be limited on the normal daily activities. Throw in an orthodontic emergency and you scramble to try and fit that appointment into your schedule.
Long Orthodontics feels your pain during this time and we would like to help alleviate some of your discomfort. Although true orthodontic emergencies are rare, below are some tips on handling these situations with holiday cheer. Of course, you may call our office at 512-523-8680 for assistance at any time or visit our webpage at www.longortho.com for more information. Keep this information close by in case you need to refer to it while we are closed December 23 – January 2 for the holidays.
It is common for you to feel sore a couple of days after your braces or retainers have been adjusted. Remember, this is temporary and very normal. To help with the soreness, rinse your mouth with warm salt water. If you are allowed to take over-the-counter pain medicine, take what is normally given for pain. Eating may be uncomfortable, as well, eating soft foods will be much easier on your mouth.
Mouth sores do happen and for some patients, it is more common with some patients than with other patients. These sores can appear inside the cheeks, on the lips and even on the tongue. Unfortunately, they can be uncomfortable. Braces do not cause the sores but they can trigger or aggravate the area. Using a topical anesthetic such as Orabase or Ora-Gel will give immediate relief. Apply the ointment as often as needed. Make sure to use a cotton swab to keep from other areas getting infected.
Tenderness of the Mouth
When you get your braces, your mouth is not use to having this new appliance. It may take a while for your mouth, cheeks, lips and tongue to get use to the new feeling. Eating with your new braces can be irritating. A small amount of relief wax will help by giving a cushion between your cheek and braces. You can pinch off a small piece and roll it into a tiny ball. Flatten the wax and place it completely over the area of braces that is causing the discomfort. This trick will help make eating and talking so much easier and you will feel better in no time. If you accidentally swallow the wax, do not worry because it is completely harmless. If the irritation does continue, please call Long Orthodontics. You may need an adjustment to help out.
Noticeable Food Stuck Between Braces or Teeth
This is more of an embarrassment, or a bit of an uncomfortable situation, than it is an emergency. Fortunately, this is an easy fix with a piece of dental floss. A small knot tied in the middle of the dental floss will help with the removal of the food. You may also use an interproxal brush or pick to help oust the food that is stuck between the teeth and braces. Always remember to be careful not to hurt the gums or damage the braces.
If You Lose a Rubber or Wire Ligature to the Bracket
If a rubber ligature, which holds the wire to the bracket, should come off, you may be able to put it back in place using sterile tweezers. If it is a small wire ligature, you can simply remove the wire by using sterile tweezers. There are times when the wire ligature sticks out and pokes into the lip. You may simply bend the wire back with a cotton swab or pencil eraser.
There are times when the wire feels as if it slides out the back or out of the bracket. This will cause your mouth to get irritated and be quite uncomfortable. You can use a cotton swab or a pencil eraser to push the wire so it is flat against the tooth. Occasionally, the end of a wire will work itself out of place and irritate the patient’s mouth. If you cannot get to the wire because it is in a difficult position, use your relief wax to cover the wire.
If you cannot come in to our office anytime soon or the wire is extremely bothersome, give us a call so we may schedule an appointment to clip your wire.
What if I Have a Broken Bracket
Brackets are what holds the wires of the braces in place. Brackets are strong and tough but if you eat hard, crunchy or sticky types of food, they can loosen and even come off the tooth. If hit hard enough in the mouth, the same result could happen as well. This is why it is best to avoid foods that are not friendly to braces and wear a mouth guard during any type of physical activity.
The best thing to do if a bracket breaks or comes loose is contact our office. Dr. Long will want to examine your mouth and decide the best approach to fix your bracket. If you are unable to get to our office right away, you can do a quick fix by using sterile tweezers to slide the bracket until it is between the teeth. Turn the bracket back to the correct position and place it back on the center of the tooth. Remember this is just a temporary fix. It is best to see Dr. Long as soon as possible.