What to Do in Case of Emergency
Wire Pokes occur when the end of a wire pokes the cheek or lip. A wire can slip out of the track or tubing that keeps it in the proper position and relax into a position that is uncomfortable. Another situation occurs when the entire wire shifts to one side so that a longer end protrudes beyond the end of the track or tubing at the back teeth.
The first step to get comfortable is to put some orthodontic wax or a sugarfree gum wad over the area. This may provide relief until you can get to the office. We will want to see most patients for wire pokes as they are usually in the back of the mouth.
If you can’t reach us and if the wire is near the front teeth and if it is easy to see where to clip it, you can try with nail clippers that have been washed with hot soapy water and then wiped with an alcohol-soaked gauze or cotton ball. For safety, be sure to hold onto the part of wire you are removing. But then call and set up an appointment for wire replacement.
Lost Separators aren’t an emergency. Please just leave a message on the machine if it is after hours. Our staff can determine if a replacement separator needs to be placed prior to the banding appointment.
Loose Brackets usually come off the tooth but stay attached to the wire because an elastic loop, called a tie, is still engaged in the bracket’s wings. This is also not an emergency. Let the office know that the bracket is loose. They will determine if you can wait until your next appointment, which will now be a little longer so a new bracket can be bonded, or if you need an earlier appointment. If the bracket’s slight side-to-side movement on the wire is an irritation, you can remove it by lifting off the elastic tie with tweezers that have been cleaned. Cutting the wire to remove a loose bracket isn’t necessary.
Loose Bands (A band is silver metal and goes all the way around a tooth. Most commonly place on back teeth.) are usually noticeable because they slightly shift up and down. As with loose brackets, this isn’t an emergency but our office needs to know as soon as this is noticed. There isn’t anything you can do at home for this and the next appointment will need to be longer. If the band completely comes off the tooth, we will want to see the patient as soon as possible.
Soreness is normal because the teeth are tender as they start to move into their new positions. If you can tolerate a Tylenol or Advil, take an analgesic. While your teeth are sore, eat softer food for a day or so. Some patients find relief by holding a mouthful of warm saline water next to the area. (Spit it out after it cools.) Others get relief by holding a warm, wet washcloth on their cheeks. If you have an irritation inside your lip or cheek near a bracket, try the orthodontic wax you were given. Dry the tooth as best you can and gently place wax over the bracket. After a few days, your cheek or lip will become accustomed to the bracket. If not, please give us a call.
Many of these problems are caused by eating hard food, chewing gum or sticky food, or chewing on a pencil or pen. These activities can distort a wire just enough that it shifts out of alignment or they can knock loose the light bonding that holds a bracket to a tooth. So please follow the Brace Watcher’s Diet. We want your treatment to move forward in a timely manner. But we also know that these things can happen in the most careful patient.
We are here to help you, so please don’t hesitate to call when you have some doubts or questions.