Minnesotaorthodontist's Blog


Minnesota Orthodontist Discusses Braces Emergencies

How To Handle Braces Emergencies

The holiday season is upon us, which means that many dental offices are closed a few extra days during the month. Jenny, one of our talented and friendly dental assistants at Zapfel Orthodontics, would like to offer some tips on how to handle orthodontic emergencies!

Wire Poke: One of the most common types of orthodontic emergencies is a wire poke. This more frequently occurs in the beginning months of orthodontic treatment when the wires are more flexible and can shift to the left or right. If you have a poking wire, first try to slide the wire back toward the center, or use wax or wet cotton to cover the area. If this doesn’t work, you may try to clip the wire with a nail clipper, or try bending the wire over with a pencil eraser. If the wire is out of the tube on a molar, you may try to place the wire end back through the tube with a tweezers.

Loose Brace: If you notice a loose brace, just call during open business hours. We can help you schedule a time to come in to have the brace repaired. If the brace is still attached to the wire but is irritating your lips or cheeks, place wax over the brace to relieve the discomfort.

Loose Band: If you notice a loose band (the metal rings around the molars), please call during business hours. We can schedule a time for you to come in to have the band re-cemented. If the band is attached to another wire, or if it is irritating your lips or cheeks, try to place wax over the band or else you may try to clip the wire and remove the band until you can get in. Please bring the band in with you to your next visit. If you were wearing elastics to the loose band, stop elastic wear for the time being.

Soft Tissue Irritation: Use wax to cover any areas of the braces that are irritating your lips or cheeks. Soft tissue irritation is very common in the first days or week of orthodontic treatment, or anytime you have something new placed in your mouth. If necessary, you may take the pain reliever you would normally take for a headache or similar discomfort.

Trauma: If you experience trauma to your mouth while wearing braces, first make sure that you are okay. Seek medical attention if necessary. Often, your lips or cheeks can be cut by the braces if you get bumped in the mouth. If this happens, keep the area clean by using warm saltwater rinses a few times a day. You can also place wax over any brace that is irritating the area. If you have significant trauma to the teeth, please call your dentist to have a thorough evaluation in order to make sure that there are no serious injuries.

Tooth Pain: When the braces or separators are first placed, and occasionally after regular adjustments, you may experience some tenderness or discomfort from your tooth or teeth. If necessary, you may take the pain reliever you would normally take for a headache or similar discomfort. If you develop severe pain that keeps you awake or is sensitive to hot or cold, it is possible that you have a dental infection. In this case, please see your dentist for a complete evaluation.

Bite Changes: As your teeth move, the feeling of your bite will also change. This is to be expected, even toward the end of treatment. If your mouth gets locked shut or open due to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) issues, please call your dentist or orthodontist.

If none of these tips alleviates your discomfort, please call your orthodontist for an appointment. We here at Zapfel Orthodontics always have someone available to answer our patients’ questions regarding emergency orthodontic care. Please have a safe and enjoyable holiday season!

For More Information

Please call (763) 784-0420 or visit www.ZapfelOrthodontics.com for more information or to schedule a complimentary initial examination and x-ray. Zapfel Orthodontics is located at 1130 NE County Road 10 in Spring Lake Park, MN 55432 and serves the Minneapolis/St. Paul Twin Cities including Coon Rapids, Blaine, Fridley, Roseville, Anoka, Brooklyn Park, Columbia Heights, and Mounds View, Minnesota.