If there is obvious damage to the wires, bands and brackets of your braces, it’s important to see your orthodontist as soon as possible. If you are not in pain as a result of these problems, it’s possible to see a dental professional within the next day or two, but treatment should be prompt.
There are many causes of damage to braces, including:
- Eating hard foods
- Trauma to the facial area
- Chewing inedible objects
Here is an overview of some common types of orthodontic emergencies:
Brackets are the small metal or ceramic appliances that have been attached to the teeth using dental adhesive (resin). If both the bracket and the archwire are moving, it’s probable that the adhesive has not cured correctly. This is not a true orthodontic emergency, but your orthodontist should be called promptly.
If the bracket has fallen and rotated around the archwire, place it in its proper position and use orthodontic wax as a temporary adhesive until your orthodontist reaffixes the bracket.
Bands are the metal rings which have been cemented around teeth. Loose bands pose no immediate threat, but if left untreated for several weeks, decalcification (a white spot) or tooth decay can occur. This is because the dental bonding agents normally seal the inner portion of the band from bacteria, saliva and plaque. If bacteria and saliva enter the crevice, an acidic byproduct is produced, which erodes tooth enamel.
It is important to call your orthodontist immediately for advice in the case of a loose band. Your orthodontist will reaffix the band to the tooth or replace it if it has come off the tooth entirely. If an orthodontic band has fallen out of the mouth, save the band and do not attempt to affix it yourself.
Broken or Bothersome Wires
Broken archwires are one of the most common orthodontic problems. When the archwire is broken, there is a possibility it will cause soreness or irritation to the inner cheek. In this case, use tweezers or a pencil eraser to bend the wire into a less irritating position. If the broken archwire cannot be bent out of the way, place a pea-sized piece of orthodontic relief wax over the protruding end to protect soft tissue.
These measures are only temporary solutions. Your orthodontist must be called for an appointment to replace the broken wire.
If a band, bracket or piece of wire has been swallowed, please contact your orthodontist for instructions. Fortunately, these orthodontic appliances are so small they can pass through the body without incident, but it is always preferable to seek advice.
If you have any questions or concerns about damage to your braces, please contact your orthodontist as soon as possible.