It is impossible to predict when an orthodontic emergency is going to happen. However, you can ensure you are prepared for an emergency if it ever happens.
Although brackets and wires are securely attached to the teeth, biting into certain foods or a direct impact to the face can dislodge and break the hardware. Many orthodontic emergencies can be avoided by abstaining from certain foods during treatment and wearing a mouthguard while participating in contact sports.
Foods to Avoid With Braces:
- Sticky & Hard Candy
- Hard Cookies & Crackers
- Whole Apples
- Corn on the Cob
If you do experience an orthodontic emergency, don’t panic! Follow these steps:
Cover Exposed Wires With Orthodontic Wax: If your wire snaps, cover the area with orthodontic wax to prevent the hardware from injuring your cheek and gums.
Rinse Out Mouth With Salt Water Solution: A significant impact to the face can not only damage your braces, but it can also injure the inside of your mouth. If your braces cause any cuts or abrasions in your mouth, mix half of a teaspoon of salt into a cup of warm water. Swish this solution around in your mouth for 10-12 seconds and spit. Remember, never swallow the saltwater solution. It is dehydrating and is not healthy to digest.
Call Your Dental Provider’s Office: Don’t wait till your next appointment to address your emergency. Broken brackets and wires are not only uncomfortable but they can also hinder your treatment. Call the office, explain what happened, and schedule an appointment as soon as possible to address the problem.
Clear Aligners typically don’t cause as many dental emergencies as braces because of their smooth structure. However, clear aligners are not indestructible. Taking certain precautions, such as taking them out before eating and holding both sides while removing them, helps keep clear aligners in tip-top condition.
If your aligner breaks or cracks, do not glue it back together! Many types of glue contain toxic materials that are unsafe to put in your mouth. It is a good practice to save your previous set of aligners and use those until you can see to your dental provider.
Accidents happen! Make sure you are prepared for them if they do. When in doubt, call your dental provider’s office. The staff is there to give you expert advice to ensure your treatment goes as smoothly as possible!