Orthodontic Emergencies and Their DIY Solutions
You might have seen pictures of celebrities with braces or using orthodontic appliances like retainers or Clear Aligner Devices. You might have also noticed they get alluring and delicate smiles.
In some other cases, people might lead “trends” by doing “whatever it takes” to get a noticeable beautiful smile, at the risk of losing teeth and bite functionality, with terrible consequences for their teeth in the future.
In the first scenario, getting an alluring smile results from a process in which a patient must use braces or other appliances to align their teeth, enhancing their teeth functionality to prevent future dental health problems.
After getting braces or clear alignment devices, patients might get a refined smile with professional teeth whitening and other non-invasive cosmetic dentistry procedures to fix little chips or cracks.
In short, getting that beautiful smile you anxiously desire should not come at the risk of sacrificing your dental health in the future. Instead, a beautiful smile is, in most cases, a result of a process (treatment plan) in which a “team of professionals” and “trained assistants” work along with you to attain two objectives, “excellent oral health” and “an alluring smile.”
When patients seek immediate results by filing down their teeth for a beautiful smile, neglecting the functional side of it, they might have continuous emergencies and disastrous consequences at the end of the road.
On the other side, patients who “consciously” go through the recommended orthodontic process might have emergencies during treatment that our team of experts can control and manage.
This article addresses the importance of patients’ commitment to results by complying with recommendations to avoid orthodontic emergencies. It also draws attention to the difference between controlled emergencies that occur in a planned treatment and those inherently part of neglecting a phased process.
What Are Common Orthodontic Emergencies?
When experts talk about orthodontic emergencies, they refer to cases in which patients might have problems with their orthodontic braces, like a loose bracket or a broken or derailed wire.
However, patients could prevent these minor emergencies by complying with the orthodontist’s recommendations about their diet and by practicing enhanced oral hygiene measures.
In the case of an occurrence, patients can handle these situations with a temporary “Do It Yourself” solution before attending a non-planned orthodontic fixing visit. Here we list common manageable orthodontic emergencies you can deal with a DIY solution.
Food Stuck in Brackets or Wires
Having food stuck in your orthodontic braces is a recurrent issue you can solve easily by brushing and flossing your teeth. However, sometimes patients fail to comply with the dietary restrictions by eating sticky, starchy, or hard-to-bite foods.
For instance, starchy foods mix with saliva, forming a small mass of food that remain trapped in braces, nooks, and crannies, even after brushing and flossing. In those cases, you might use special utensils to clear them out:
Interdental brushes are small utensils that help you achieve excellent maneuverability. They are little brushes that fit between your teeth, wires, and entrenched areas.
Patients might use these devices to throw a splash of pressurized water to unclog food residues and debris.
Notwithstanding, if you can’t remove these particles with these artifacts, we recommend you schedule an orthodontic visit.
Eating hard or crunchy foods might cause wires to break or derail. A broken wire might have a sharp edge that could hurt your check. We have two temporary fixing recommendations for this case:
Cutting the Wire
You can use nail clippers to cut the portion of the wires that are sticking out.
Apply Wax to the Pointy Edge
After cutting the pointy edge, use a small cotton ball to daub wax on the left portion of the wire to avoid cheek lacerations. Then, call your orthodontists to set an appointment.
A derailed wire is not considered an emergency of any level. However, it might compromise your treatment. An easy fix is to use a pencil eraser and guide the wire, gently pushing the loose wire against the bracket to get it back in position.
Broken or Loose Brackets or Bands
A broken bracket is a more significant problem. In some cases, the bracket might fall off, and a patient could accidentally swallow it, which turns it into an acute emergency requiring immediate care.
However, If the bracket is dangling but secure, just apply some wax and avoid playing with it. Call your orthodontist immediately after the occurrence of the case to set an appointment.
If you have a loose rubber band, use a tweezer to stretch it and re-accommodate it in the hook or bracket. You might also have a replacement band in case it gets broken.
Lost Clear Alignment Trays
So far, we have mentioned cases involving traditional braces. But, we might also include Clear Alignment Devices as part of the analyzed cases. Losing a tray or a set of them is not an emergency. However, in such an occurrence, call Dr. Ann D. Reopelle, and she will make the most suitable recommendation for your case. For example, Dr. Reopelle might advise you to use the last set of appliances until the replacement trays arrive.
What Are Severe Orthodontic Emergencies?
In some extraordinary cases, patients might have accidents that provoke traumas on teeth that require emergency care. Most accidents are not preventable and occur instantaneously without any warning. True emergencies require orthodontic emergency care.
However, there might be cases in which patients could minimize the impact of potential trauma. For instance, a patient might use a mouthguard before practicing any contact sport to reduce the shock of an impact in the mouth.
You must also remember a mouth blow might produce intense bleeding or a shock. If possible, use a towel to apply gentle pressure against the wound. Then, according to the severity of the trauma, call 911 for emergency care.
Also, if you are conscious, you might take a picture and send it immediately to Dr. Reopelle so that she can provide instructions.
We Are a Team Ready to Help With Your Orthodontic Emergencies
At Reopelle Orthodontics, we count on a team of professionals that put your needs first in a supportive, nurturing environment, addressing your individual needs as a patient, including any dental emergencies you may have.
Schedule an appointment, and our candid team will assist you, in a warmhearted environment, with any inquiry you might have about orthodontic treatments so you get a beautiful smile.