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Tips for Handling Braces Emergencies

Call Harmony Orthodontics at 832-699-3686 for an Appointment

If you follow our Tips for Living with Braces, you’ll rarely experience a braces emergency that can’t be easily aided at home. If a bracket, wire, or other fixture breaks or dislodges keep the pieces together in an envelope, and bring it to your appointment. You can call us for a pop-in visit whenever necessary, or we will be happy to answer your questions over the phone.

A true emergency occurs when you sustain injury to your mouth or teeth are in crucial pain. These emergencies warrant an immediate call to our office. Text us if it is after office hours. Our orthodontist, Dr. Tun, will give guidance depending upon the severity.

Common Braces Emergencies

  • Loose or broken bracket

  • Poking wire

  • Broken off or dislodged braces component

  • Soreness or discomfort

  • Mouth ulcers or sores

The following tips will help you handle all these braces emergencies and less-common situations until you can come into the office for aid.

  • Tip #1: Keep Orthodontic Wax on Hand

A common braces emergency involves a piece of orthodontia rubbing against or poking tender soft tissues inside the mouth. Oftentimes, a loose or broken bracket or a poking wire can be covered with orthodontic wax to alleviate continued irritation.

  • Tip #2: Assemble a Braces Tool Kit

Invest in inexpensive tweezers, nail clippers, and a dental mirror to keep with your orthodontic wax. Keep these supplies, with pain relievers and sugarless gum, in a small zipper bag. It’s wise to have two kits: one for your daily carry bag and another for your home. Some people also keep one in the car.

An adult or teen with steady hands may effectively bend a poking wire, but children need an adult’s help. Tweezers or a pencil eraser can bend a poking wire toward teeth, so it won’t poke cheeks or gums. You can also use tweezers to replace an elastic over a bracket or press an unwound spring away from soft tissues. 

Nail clippers can snip a wire that’s extending too far past the last bracket or that has come loose. 

Rest assured, we can repair your braces at your next appointment or if you call for a quick pop-in visit between regular appointments.

  • Tip #3: Carry a Supply of Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers

Age-appropriate dosage of Tylenol, Advil, Motrin, or their generic counterparts will ease soreness and pain. Patients sometimes experience discomfort after first having braces placed, then after adjustment appointments. Only take the pain relievers when you need them, rather than preventively each day. Too much medication can cause negative effects. 

Also, keep sugarless chewing gum nearby. In some cases, chewing sugar-free gum will help ease oral discomfort by stimulating blood flow.

  • Tip #4: Topical Oral Numbing Gel

At some point, most orthodontic patients develop a mouth ulcer or sore. Touching the area will introduce additional bacteria, which can lead to infection. Touching can also further irritate the sore. After covering any parts of your braces that rub or poke the area with wax and bending or trimming a poking wire, apply the topical oral numbing gel directly to the sore.

Orajel, Anbesol, or generic oral analgesic gel contains lidocaine to numb soft tissues in the mouth. Parents may use such gel for teething toddlers, but you can also apply the gel to sore spots in your mouth due to braces issues.

You can also rinse your mouth with a mixture of lukewarm water and table salt to dry out and help heal the ulcer or sore.

  • Tip #5: Don’t Wear a Broken Retainer

If your orthodontic retainer breaks, don’t wear it. A broken retainer may apply force in an inappropriate location, which will harm rather than help your orthodontic therapy. Instead, simply stop wearing it until you can bring it in for repair. However, don’t wait too long! Not wearing your retainer will allow teeth to drift out of alignment, contradicting treatment goals.

For Quick Help with Braces Emergencies, Call 832-699-3683

Whether you have a question or need to come in for braces repair, the Harmony Orthodontics team is happy to help! Give our Tomball orthodontist office a ring any time.