Handling Out of Town Emergencies
Fortunately, most problems with your braces aren’t medical emergencies. Let’s talk about a few things you can do while you’re away to avoid the inconvenience and expense of trying to find an orthodontist in an unfamiliar area.
Take an emergency kit with you – include orthodontic wax, nail clippers or small pair of wire cutters, tweezers, a pencil with an eraser. Remember to take our email or phone number if you need to contact us for guidance.
Irritation of your lips or cheeks – apply wax to the section of braces causing the irritation. If you don’t have wax or run out, sugarless gum or cotton works well. If a sore develops, topical anesthetics like Orabase or Oragel can temporarily ease the discomfort until you return.
Poking or protruding wire – Occasionally the arch wire extends in the back or may come out of the bracket. Use a pencil eraser or something soft to push the wire flat against your teeth. Add wax or sugarless gum to the end of the wire if needed to prevent irritation. If the main wire breaks, you can clip the wire with a pair of nail clippers, flush to the next anchored bracket – just remember to santize the clippers or wire cutters with rubbing alcohol. Make sure to avoid swallowing the clipped piece of wire.
Loose band – If a band around one of your back teeth comes loose, don’t worry about it unless it is causing problems while you eat. Worst-case scenario, clip the main wire with nail clippers flush to the next bracket and remove the loose band and save it. Apply wax or sugarless gum if needed to avoid irritation from the cut wire.
Loose bracket – Hard foods are the main cause of loose brackets. During the summer, we all tend to be more lax with our normal routines. However, out of town is not the time to take a chance breaking a bracket by not following the restricted diet. If a bracket does come loose from a tooth, remove the bracket with a pair of tweezers. Don’t forget to contact us when you return so we can schedule an appointment to replace the bracket.
Loose ligature wire or elastic – if a small elastic ligature (the colored “ring” that attaches the archwire to the bracket) comes partially or all the way off your braces, use a pair of tweezers to put it back into place. If a ligature is lost, don’t worry about it. Call us when you return.
True Emergencies – If you experience a true emergency where you are so uncomfortable you can’t wait until you get back, contact the local dental society for an orthodontic recommendation. Most orthodontists provide an emergency contact number when out of the office and will help an out of town patient with a problem they cannot easily attend to on their own. A local emergency room is always a last resort.
Also, never hesitate to call or email us for guidance if you don’t know what to do. Our goal at Hage Orthodontics is to provide you with a terrific smile, and just as important to be sure you are comfortable and safe throughout the course of your treatment, even when you are out of town.