Irritation of the Lips or Cheeks
Sometimes new braces can be irritating to the mouth, especially when your child is eating. Relief wax makes an excellent buffer between metal and the mouth. Simply pinch off a piece and place it completely over the area of the braces that is causing irritation. Your child may then eat more comfortably. Inform them that if the wax is accidentally ingested, it is harmless, and not a problem.
Alastics Come Off
Tiny rubber bands called alastics, or small wires called ligatures, hold the wire in the bracket. If a rubber alastic comes off, you may be able to put it back in place using tweezers. If a wire ligature comes loose, simply remove it with tweezers. If the wire ligature is sticking out, poking the lip or gums, but isn’t loose, it may be bent back to a comfortable position with a cotton swab or pencil eraser.
Loose Brackets, Wires, or Bands
A bracket or band can be knocked loose if your child has eaten one of the, “No-No foods,” or if the mouth is struck at play. Patients, especially those with braces, should wear a protective mouthguard while playing sports. If your child is experiencing discomfort as a result of something being loose, do what you must to alleviate it. This could mean removing a piece of hardware from the mouth if possible. At that point, give us a call to schedule your child to have it properly fixed. Should something come out or be removed outside of our office, NEVER dispose of anything! Place the piece of hardware in a bag and bring it to your next appointment.
Occasionally, the end of a wire will work itself out of place and irritate your child’s mouth. Use a cotton swab or eraser to push the wire so that it is flat against the teeth and alleviate the discomfort. If the wire cannot be moved into a comfortable position, cover it with relief wax (See Irritation of Cheeks or Lips for instructions to apply). In a situation where the wire is extremely bothersome and you are unable to make it to the office soon, as a last resort, you may clip the wire.
It’s normal for your child to have discomfort for a day or two after braces or retainers are adjusted, but it can make eating uncomfortable. Reassure them that the discomfort is both normal and temporary. Encourage consumption of soft foods and have them rinse their mouth with warm salt water. If your child is allowed to have over-the-counter pain relievers, Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen may be effective.
Some patients are susceptible to episodes of mouth sores. While braces do not cause them, they may be precipitated or exacerbated by an irritation from braces. One or several areas of ulceration of the cheeks, lips, or tongue may appear. This is not an emergency, but may be very uncomfortable for your child. Prompt relief may be achieved by applying a small amount of topical anesthetic (such as Orabase or Orajel) directly to the ulcerated surface using a cotton swab. Follow the directions for use and help your child to reapply as needed.
Food Caught Between Teeth
This is not an emergency, but can be uncomfortable. This can usually be relieved with a piece of dental floss, a water pik, or an interproximal brush.
- Tools and Supplies With these tools and supplies on hand (most of which you already have), you will be prepared to handle the most common orthodontic emergencies.
- Orthodontic Relief Wax
- Dental Floss
- Clean tweezers
- Clean, small, sharp clipper
- Interproximal brush (“Christmas Tree Brush”)
- Acetaminophen and/or Ibuprofen
- Orabase or Orajel swabs