Braces 101

We do our best to accommodate same-day appointments whenever possible, especially for emergencies like broken ties or wires. If you experience an orthodontic emergency, call our office right away to schedule an appointment.

Tooth Soreness/Discomfort

Teeth may become sore or achy following an orthodontic activation appointment. Usually the teeth are most sore during the first 24-72 hours. After 72 hours, the teeth usually start feeling better. Maintain a soft food diet as needed. If necessary, take Tylenol to alleviate your discomfort.

Loose or Broken Bracket (Braces)

If one of the metal brackets that is “glued” onto your teeth becomes loose or breaks off, it is not a true emergency unless you’re in pain because of it. If the bracket is attached to the wire, leave it in place and cover it with wax as needed for comfort. If the bracket comes out completely, bring it with you to your next appointment. Avoid connecting elastics or a headgear appliance to any loose brackets. If you’ve just had an adjustment, call the office to schedule an appointment to put the bracket back on. If you have an appointment already scheduled in the near future and are not in pain, you can keep your current appointment and we will repair it when you’re here next.

Loose Band

This is generally not an emergency unless it is associated with pain or discomfort. Avoid connecting elastics or a headgear appliance to any loose bands. If the band is still attached to the wire, it will usually wobble slightly. Call our office to see if you need a special appointment to have the band re-cemented or if it can be done at your regularly scheduled appointment.

If the band comes off your tooth completely, call us immediately to schedule an appointment. The space needed to re-cement the band may close in a few days. Remember to bring the band with you to your appointment!

Poking Wire

Sometimes as your teeth shift, the ends of a wire will start poking out the back of the molar tubes and begin irritating the cheeks. This problem may be resolved by moving the wire away from the irritated area using a cotton swab or pencil eraser. If the wire does not move, cover it with a small pea-sized amount of wax or cotton. You may also try cutting the wire with nail clippers that have been washed and sterilized in alcohol. Call our office for an appointment if you cannot resolve the problem.

Loose Wire

During treatment, flexible wires may slip out of the bracket slots of the back teeth. This may be avoided by eating the appropriate foods. If the wire comes out of the tube, try placing the wire back in the tube using tweezers. If necessary, cover the loose wire with wax and call our office for an appointment.

Poking Metal Tie

Occasionally, metal wires are used to tie the archwire to the brackets or bands. Sometimes during eating or brushing, this metal wire tie can accidentally be redirected and start to cause irritation to your lips or cheeks. You can try to push the poky wire back into place by using the end of a pencil eraser. If that is not possible, place wax on the area causing the irritation until you can schedule an appointment with Dr. Lewis.

Lost Elastic Tie

If an elastic tie falls off, call us so we can help you decide the best course of action. Sometimes it’s perfectly fine to wait until your next appointment to have it replaced. Other times, Dr. Lewis will want to see you for a quick visit to put the elastic tie back on.

Sores Inside Your Mouth

During the first week of treatment, you may notice sores or ulcerations inside your mouth. This can happen because your lips and cheeks are not yet used to rubbing against your orthodontic braces. Over time, your skin on the inside of your mouth will get tougher and you will not have sores anymore. To provide some relief for your lips and cheeks rubbing against your rough braces, you can place a small pea-sized amount of wax or cotton on the area of the braces that is causing the sore or ulceration. The sore should improve within a couple of days and completely heal within a week. If the sore or ulceration does not improve or gets worse, call Dr. Lewis to have it examined.

Headgear/Appliance Doesn't Fit

Call us immediately to schedule an appointment. It’s important for us to adjust your appliance as soon as possible to prevent unwanted shifting or movement.

All Other Dental Emergencies

If you experience an orthodontic emergency click here or call our office right away to schedule an appointment.

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