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Tips for Dealing with Ortho Emergencies
So, you’ve scheduled a vacation. Awesome! We LOVE vacations. Fun, travel, memories, pictures…. orthodontic emergencies. Oh no! What a wet blanket that is for your trip. It should give you a little peace of mind to know that true orthodontic emergencies are extremely rare. Usually, it’s just a minor troublesome issue like a poking wire or broken bracket which can be fixed quickly and easily. But just in case, here's Dr. Yan Razdolsky and the Forever Smile’s handy guide and tips on dealing with common issues while at home or traveling.
Pack an Emergency Kit – Nothing says fun like an emergency orthodontic kit, we know. But they are smart! Pack orthodontic wax, Chapstick, nail clippers or small pair of wire cutters, tweezers, a pencil with an eraser, Q-tips, and a topical anesthetic like Orabase or Orajel along with our phone number so we can help with any guidance you may need.
Discomfort – It’s normal for you to experience a little discomfort a day or two after new braces placement or an adjustment. But it can make eating a bit uncomfortable. Choose softer foods and rinse with warm water to help with pain. And if you have irritation of the lips or cheeks, apply wax to the area to help. Simply pinch off a small piece and roll it between your fingers to soften before applying to the problem area. If you don’t have wax handy? Try sugarless gum as a substitute. And always have Chapstick or another lip balm handy to help soothe dry chapped lips.
Ligatures Come Off – sometimes the tiny rubber bands, or small fine wires we use to fasten the wire to your brackets can become dislodged. In the case of a rubber ligature, you may be able to put it back in place using sterile tweezers. In the case of a wire ligature, if it’s just sticking out, use a Q-tip to gently bend it back and away from soft tissue which could become irritated. You can then use wax to help protect the area if necessary. If it’s completely dislodged, however, it’s best to give us a call. Dr. Yan and the Forever Smiles team can walk you through what the best option is for management of your specific issue.
Protruding Wires – Occasionally, but not too often, the end of a wire can work its way loose and irritate a patient’s mouth. Here’s where that ortho emergency kit really comes in handy! Use the eraser end of a pencil, or Q-tip to gently push the wire flat against the tooth as much as you can and cover it with relief wax. If the wire cannot be moved, it’s best to give us a call for further instructions.
Loose Brackets or Bands – If a band or bracket becomes loose you may not need to worry about it unless it causes issues while eating. If this happens, it is best to call Dr. Yan to determine what next steps are appropriate. It may require temporary treatment until the wires and brackets can be repaired upon your return home.
Lost Aligner – The best way to avoid losing an aligner or retainer is to always carry your case with you. Store your aligners in the case any time you remove them to brush and floss or eat. Napkins are the natural enemy of aligners and retainers. We can’t count how many times a patient has put their appliance down on a napkin while eating lunch, forgot and accidentally threw it away. Ugh!
As always, Dr. Yan and the Forever Smiles team is here to help ensure that orthodontic mishaps don’t spoil your awesome vacation. If however, we are unable to help you fix the problem over the phone or if you have difficulty reaching our office, we suggest going online and searching for orthodontic practices in your area. Most orthodontists are used to helping traveling orthodontic patients and can help them with discomfort. In fact, Dr. Yan has helped many out-of-town travelers and vacationers himself!