If you’re getting braces treatment, there’s a chance you’ll end up with an orthodontic emergency at some point. Perhaps you get hit in the face by a ball while playing sports. You might eat something you shouldn’t, breaking a wire or popping off a bracket. Sometimes, the movement of your teeth can cause a wire to poke your cheek. What do you do if you have an orthodontic emergency? Should you come in, or is it something you can handle yourself? 

We know problems with your braces can be a little irritating and downright scary at worst. The first step is not to panic. Whatever has happened, it is something Larson Orthodontics can address and get you back on the road to your perfect smile. Here are a few tips on what you can do in an orthodontic emergency.

Fast Fixes at Home for Orthodontic Emergencies

Some orthodontic issues are fairly common ones that are easily resolved at home. Others may require a quick visit to our Alexandria, VA, office. Let’s start with a few at-home issues that won’t need a mad dash to the office. 

Sore Teeth

Your teeth may be sore after getting your braces or each adjustment. This is perfectly normal. You can relieve your discomfort by rinsing your mouth with lukewarm salt water. If necessary, you can also take over-the-counter pain medication such as aspirin or ibuprofen. The ache should disappear after a few days after adjustments. It can take up to a week after you first get braces because your teeth are suddenly being made to move. 

If you still have pain or the pain gets worse after a week, call our office. We may ask you to come in to ensure no issues with your braces. 

Wires Poking Out

You may feel the end of a wire poking you at some point, irritating your cheek or tongue. This isn’t unusual because your archwire shifts as your teeth move. The wire on the end may poke you a bit. You might also end up with a poking wire if you eat the wrong thing, such as hard candy or nuts, and break or damage your wires. 

The easiest solution is to use dental wax to cover the problem wire. This will provide a smooth surface and stop the irritation until you can come to see us. If your visit is coming up soon, you can probably use the dental wax until your regularly scheduled visit. If it is several weeks, give us a call. 

Poking Elastic Band Hook

A few of your brackets may have tiny hooks to hold elastic bands. These hooks may get bent if you eat hard foods that knock them out of place. The hooks can also irritate your cheeks if they bend outward. Once again, dental wax can reduce irritation. If the hook is bent outward, you can use a pencil eraser and gently push the hook back into its proper position. Just don’t push it too far, or you won’t be able to get the elastic band around it later! 

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Call Us for These Orthodontic Emergencies! 

While you can handle some orthodontic emergencies at home, others need to be addressed by Larson Orthodontics right away. In these cases, you’ll want to give us a call as soon as possible. We may ask you to come in for braces repairs, or we may be able to suggest a quick fix. Either way, we ask that you call us first so you won’t have to wait until you get here. 

Loose or Popped Bracket

Your brackets are bonded to your teeth, but there is a chance they could pop off. It could be because food dislodges it. It could be the result of a sport or accidental injury. It could just be that the bonding agent didn’t take properly, and the bracket came loose. What do you do when that happens? Call us to schedule an appointment!

If the bracket comes out completely, put it in an envelope or plastic bag and bring it to us. Often, the bracket comes loose but stays attached to the archwire. It should stay put until you can come into our office. We will need to glue it back on so your treatment can continue properly. 

Popped Wire

Although your archwire can pop out of the back bracket, it’s rare. Usually, this happens if the wire is bent by hard or sticky foods, which are on the no-no food list for braces wearers. It may be possible to grab the wire with tweezers and slide it back into the hole in the back bracket. If that doesn’t work, give us a call. Your archwire needs to be in its proper place to move your teeth, so we’ll need to fix it as soon as possible. 

I Swallowed Something!

What do you do if you swallow a piece of wax, an elastic band, or even a bracket? It can be a scary moment, but don’t panic! Dental wax is nontoxic since it has to go into your mouth. It should dissolve in your stomach without any problems. An elastic band or a bracket will have to take a bit of a journey, but it should clear your system in a day or two. 

On the extremely rare chance you have trouble breathing or feel pain in your chest, you need to seek medical attention immediately. You may have inhaled a bracket or band into your lungs, which must be addressed immediately. Keep in mind, though, that this is extremely rare. More than likely, you’ll simply swallow it. That shouldn’t require emergency care. 

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Orthodontic Emergencies in Alexandria, VA

Orthodontic emergencies with braces can be scary, but they usually have a quick or easy fix. On the rare occasions that they don’t, Larson Orthodontics is here to help. You can visit our Alexandria, VA, office for those more serious emergencies. We’re here when you need us!

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