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Orthodontic Emergencies

Common Emergency Problems

Orthodontic emergences are fortunately infrequent. If you follow our instructions carefully then very little will go wrong. However, occasionally you may run into problems.

  • Broken fixed braces - either a bracket becomes detached or a wire slips out. Do your best by following the advice below and contact the practice about your problem.

  • Broken removable brace - the plastic may crack or a wire may snap. Keep wearing it if you can but if it is uncomfortable stop wearing the brace and let the practice know about your problem.

  • Lost removable brace - don't wait for your teeth to move. Contact the practice about this problem and we can arrange replacements.

  • Headgear may not fit properly - stop wearing your headgear immediately. If you experience an eye injury from your headgear, treat this as a medical emergency and seek immediately an ophthalmic opinion at your local Accident and Emergency Department.

New Braces

Expect some discomfort from new braces, they are like new shoes and can rub to start with.

  • Take your normal headache tablet if your teeth ache. You may need to take this regularly for the first 24-48 hours.

  • New braces can make your teeth ache for the first THREE days but then it usually starts to get better.

  • If the brace rubs your cheeks you may find rinsing with hot salty water will help.

  • Use your wax pack as advised.

  • Keep your braces very clean because infected gums can be painful.

Emergency Advice and Self Help for Fixed Braces

Here are a few simple tips to help you.

  • If a fixed brace wire pokes out then you may be able to reposition it with your finger so that it is out of the way. Otherwise you may be able to cover the wire end with a bit of the soft wax we gave you at the start of treatment; suitable alternatives are wither a small piece of sugar-free chewing gum or a small piece of damp cotton wool!

  • If a long piece of thin wire becomes dislodged from several brackets then you may be able to get someone else to clip it off with sharp nail clippers. Be careful not to swallow the loose fragment.

  • If a fixed brace bracket becomes unstuck and causes discomfort you may be able to flip it over to face the tooth.

  • If all else fails you may try and remove the wires. This can be done by removing ALL the small coloured elastics placed around each bracket; try using the end of a paperclip to help you. With all the elastics removed the wire may be gently pulled forward out of the mouth. Please contact the practice about this, as the wire should be replaced quickly to prevent unwanted tooth movement.

Emergency Appointments

We always keep a few emergency appointments free. Please contact the practice early in the morning and let us know if you need one. These are very short appointments to get you out of discomfort. If your fixed brace is broken, it will be repaired at your next regular appliance check. 

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