What Do I Do If I Experience an Orthodontic Emergency While Offices Are Closed?

Bronx, NY – Throughout the country, stay-at-home orders put in place to stop the spread of the COVID-19 have rendered non-essential businesses and services closed, including orthodontic practices. While this is an important step to ensure the spread of the highly contagious virus can be contained, we do know that this may cause concern for some of our patients. We know that orthodontic emergencies can arise, and we are here to help. These tips can help you handle an emergency at home.

First, it is more important than ever to ensure you are using excellent oral hygiene. Brush, floss and rinse after every meal, and before you go to bed at night. Keeping your mouth clean can help fend off bacteria that could lead to much bigger problems down the road. 

Orthodontic treatment can fit seamlessly into your life, but like anything else, there can be issues that arise. Most orthodontic issues can be handled at home by following these tips.

Discomfort caused by appliances:

Your braces or appliances should not be painful, however, orthodontic treatment is not without a little bit of discomfort – we do have to move your teeth through bone, after all! If your mouth feels sore due to tooth movement, you can use an over-the-counter pain reliever to assist with minor pain. Warm compresses and rinsing with warm saltwater can help, too. 

The inside of your mouth may experience tenderness and discomfort where the appliance comes into contact with it. Orthodontic wax can be placed over any of these areas to help ease any discomfort. Warm saltwater rinses can also help with this.

Poking wire:

Occasionally, wires can come loose from their correct positions. If this happens, it can poke the inside of your mouth and cause irritation. You can use a pair of clean, sanitized needle nosed pliers or tweezers to try to place the wire back in its correct location. 

Your wire may also become too long as your teeth move, extending past your last bracket and poking at the back of your mouth. If this happens, you can use a pair of fingernail clippers to carefully clip the wire behind the last bracket. If you are unable to clip the wire, use orthodontic wax over the poking portion of the wire to prevent irritation. If a poking wire is coming from around the brace, you can use the eraser end of a pencil to gently press it behind the main wire.

Loose or broken brackets:

The brackets of your braces are placed using a special bonding material. Over the course of the life of your braces, it is possible that this bonding material can be broken, causing a bracket to become loose or fall off. This is most likely to happen if you eat foods that are on the do not eat list, such as anything to sticky or crunchy. If the bracket falls off completely, be sure to save it and we can place it back once we are able to have patients in our office. If it is loose, use orthodontic wax to leave the bracket in place and prevent discomfort. If the bracket that has become loose is the bracket you are supposed to place rubber bands on, use the tooth next to it to for the elastics. 

Clear aligner therapy

For patients in clear aligner therapy such as Invisalign, we advise you to continue with your regular at-home care instructions and aligner schedule. If you have run out of aligner sets, please continue to wear your last set until an appointment can be made. This will ensure that your treatment stays stable. Pay close attention to keeping your aligners clean to prevent any oral health issues from arising. 

While all orthodontic appointments are currently postponed, if you have any severe comfort issues that cannot be resolved by following any of these tips, please contact our office. We are here to help you during this time and as always, your smile and comfort are our priority. 

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