1. Emergencies during Orthodontic treatment
True orthodontic emergencies happen very rarely. In an emergency please follow the steps below:
If you have suffered an injury to your face, mouth, teeth, lips or gums by direct trauma and you are having orthodontic treatment – please contact your regular dentist or, if necessary, an after hours emergency dental facility as soon as possible for treatment. Orthodontic offices do not usually have the dental materials needed to manage these injuries effectively. The dentist will usually take an xray to assess the teeth involved and provide you with emergency treatment, pain relief and advice, as well as provide follow-up dental treatment, if needed.
If any of your orthodontic appliances are broken or loosened as a result of this trauma, please contact our office after the initial injury has been assessed and treated, to arrange to repair the appliance.
If a part of your appliance has been swallowed, please remain calm. If this happens, the part will almost always go into the stomach and pass through the body in a bowel movement. However, if there is any breathing difficulty, please contact your medical practitioner or a medical facility immediately. Usually x-rays will be taken to check the position of the appliance part.
2. Orthodontic “First Aid” (for more common and less serious issues)
Fortunately, you are quite likely to be able to temporarily solve many unexpected orthodontic issues yourself to relieve any discomfort and to make the appliances “safe” until you see us for a repair appointment.
Once you have relieved any discomfort or solved the issue temporarily, it is still very important that you contact us to let us know about the issue so that we can arrange a special appointment to repair the issue if necessary, usually within a few days.
Unfortunately, if these repairs are left to an already scheduled routine appointment, we will almost certainly not be able to perform the treatment that was originally intended at this routine appointment. An extra longer appointment will be required for the repair and due to the prolonged delay before the appliance is repaired it may add significantly to the treatment time.
a. If the braces or wire are rubbing – place a piece of wax, cottonwool ball or sugarless gum on the part that is rubbing. This rubbing is quite usual at the very beginning of treatment and may last up to 7 days. Occasionally it may happen later in treatment, and if it doesn’t disappear within a few days of starting “First Aid”, or if your pain is severe, please contact our office.
b. If the main wire is long at the back of the last bracket and poking into your cheek at the back – please place a piece of wax, a cottonwool ball or sugarless gum on the part that is poking. If this doesn’t help, the wire can be cut with a nail clipper at the back of the very last brace as a last resort if no professional help is available.
c. If a wire ligature is scratching – gently push the tiny wire away from the spot being irritated using a pencil with eraser on the end, cotton bud or a “popstick”. If that doesn’t help, please place a piece of wax, cottonwool ball or sugarless gum on the part that is scratching and contact our office for a repair appointment .
d. If the main wire is no longer in the back tube and is poking – gently try to put the wire back into the tube using needle-nosed pliers, fine long-nosed pliers or tweezers. If you aren’t able to put it back and if it is poking, please place a piece of wax, cottonwool ball or sugarless gum on the part that is scratching and contact our office for a repair appointment .
e. If a rubber separator/spacer falls out – if you know where it came from, put two pieces of floss through the separator, wind the floss around a finger of each hand and gently “saw” the separator back and forth between the teeth until the bottom half of the separator is back in place between the two teeth. Slide the floss out and the separator will be back in place. If you aren’t able to put it back or if you are unsure, please contact our office for an appointment to replace the separator.
f. If a bracket comes loose – this will usually stay on the main wire but may slide or rotate. If it has rotated and is rubbing, use tweezers to rotate it back so that the bracket is back in its original position and although still loose, it will stop rubbing. Please contact our office for a repair appointment and please bring any loose parts.
g. If a steel band comes loose – whether or not it has lifted off the tooth, please contact our office for a repair appointment and bring any loose parts. If it has lifted off the tooth, gently press it back down over the tooth again with your fingers to get rid of any irritation and please contact our office.
h. If a wire retainer breaks or comes loose – leave the wire retainer attached to the remaining teeth, and if necessary tuck the wire gently back into its original position with your finger. Please do not remove the wire from the remaining teeth unless absolutely necessary. Please contact our office for a repair appointment and bring all existing retainers and any parts to the repair appointment.
i. If food gets stuck in the braces, under a fixed plate or between your teeth – use dental floss or an interdental brush to clean around the braces,under plates and between the teeth.
j. If teeth feel painful immediately after an adjustment – use Paracetamol or whatever you would normally take for a headache. This is quite common but varies from patient to patient. Any pain will usually disappear after a few days. However, if you have any concerns, please contact our office.
k. If a removable plate, removable retainer or headgear is bent and not fitting correctly – please stop wearing the appliance and contact our office for a repair appointment.