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 Brace Emergencies 
Diagram of Braces

In the case of brace or appliance emergencies, it is always best to call Wesley Orthodontics right away.  Dr. Wesley will make a decision as to when the best time to get you in to handle your emergency.  Patients are reminded, at every visit, to call immediately if you have a broken bracket or appliance so that we can plan to correct the problem as soon as possible.

You will find several helpful hints listed below but always remember to call us as soon as possible to make an appointment to see Dr. Wesley for proper orthodontic treatment.  Feel free to call us at anytime with any questions you may have.

A Bracket is Knocked Off
Brackets (see diagram) are the parts of braces attached to teeth with a special adhesive.  They are generally positioned in the center of each tooth.  If the bracket is off center and moves along the wire, the adhesive has likely failed.  Call Dr. Wesley, who will determine the course of action.

If the loose bracket has rotated on the wire and is sticking out, attempt to turn it back into its normal position and call Dr. Wesley to schedule an appointment to have it reattached.  You may wish to put orthodontic wax around the area to minimize the movement of the loose brace.  If you are in pain, please call Wesley Orthodontics and inform them of the circumstance.  If you are not in pain, this is not a true emergency.  Please call at your earliest convenience to schedule an appointment to reattach the brace to the tooth.

Remember, brackets can become loose as a result of chewing on hard, sticky or chewy foods or objects as well as from sports or rough housing.  Be sure to wear a protective mouth guard while playing sports!

The Archwire is Poking
If the end of an orthodontic archwire is poking in the back of the mouth, attempt to put wax over the area to protect the cheek.  Call Wesley Orthodontics to schedule an appointment and have the wire clipped.  If you are uncomfortable, make sure you inform Dr. Wesley.    

In a situation where the wire is extremely bothersome and the patient will not be able to see the orthodontist immediately, as a last resort, the wire may be clipped with an instrument such as fingernail clippers.

Reduce the possibility of swallowing the snipped piece of wire by using folded tissue or gauze around the area to catch the piece you will remove.  Use a pair of sharp clippers and snip off the protruding wire.  Relief wax may still be necessary to provide comfort to the irritated area.

"Ligature Wire" is Poking Lip or Cheek
Use a Q-tip or pencil eraser to push the wire so that it is flat against the tooth.  If the wire cannot be moved into a comfortable position, cover it with relief wax.  (See "Irritation of Cheeks or Lips" below for instructions on applying relief wax.)  Be sure to make Dr. Wesley aware of the problem.

Loose Brackets, Wires or Bands
If the braces have come loose in any way, call Wesley Orthodontics to determine appropriate next steps.  Save any pieces of your braces that break off and bring them with you to your repair appointment.

Irritation of Lips or Cheeks
Sometimes new braces can be irritating to the mouth.  A small amount of orthodontic wax makes an excellent buffer between the braces and lips, cheek or tongue.  Simply pinch off a small piece and roll it into a ball the size of a small pea.  Flatten the ball and place it completely over the area of the braces causing irritation. If possible, dry off the area first as the wax will stick better.  The patient may then eat more comfortably.  If the wax is accidentally swallowed it's not a problem.  The wax is harmless.

Mouth Sores
People who have mouth sores during orthodontic treatment may gain relief by applying a small amount of topical anesthetic (such as Orabase or Ora-Gel) directly to the sore area using a cotton swab.  Reapply as needed.

It's normal to have discomfort for three to five days after braces or retainers are adjusted.  Although temporary, it can make eating uncomfortable.  Encourage soft foods.  Have the patient rinse the mouth with warm salt water.  Over-the-counter pain relievers, acetaminophen or ibuprofen, may be effective.

Lost Ligature (Rubber or Wire)
Tiny rubber bands known as elastic ligatures (donuts), are often used to hold the archwire into the bracket or brace.  If an elastic ligature (donut) is lost, contact Wesley Orthodontics, who can advise you whether the patient should be seen.  The same holds true for wire ligatures.

A. Ligature
The archwire is held to each bracket with a ligature, which can be either a tiny elastic or a twisted wire.

B. Archwire
The archwire is tied to all of the brackets and creates force to move teeth into proper alignment.

C. Brackets
Brackets are connected to the bands, or directly bonded on the teeth, and hold the archwire in place.

D. Metal Band
The band is the cemented ring of metal which wraps around the tooth.

E. Elastic Hooks & Rubber Bands
Elastic hooks are used for the attachment of rubber bands, which help move teeth toward their final position.

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