Summer vacation is here and many families are squeezing in last minute get aways before the new school year begins. Do you know what to do in case of an orthodontic emergency while away? Here are some tips from Dr. Varghese.
Fortunately, most problems with your braces do not qualify as true emergencies. Let’s talk about a few things you can do while you are away to avoid the inconvenience and expense of trying to find an orthodontist in an unfamiliar area. Here are some helpful hints on what to do if you have any problems with your braces.
Take a mini emergency kit with you- include orthodontic wax, nail clippers or small pair of wire cutters, tweezers, a pencil with an eraser and our phone number if you need guidance.
Irritation of your lips or cheeks- Apply wax to the area causing the irritation and follow the instructions on the package. If you do not have wax on hand, sugarless gum works well. If any sores develop, go to a local drug store and purchase topical anesthetic like Orabase or Orajel to temporarily numb the area til you return and we can fix the issue.
Poking or protruding wire- Occasionally, the arch wire extends in the back or may come right out of the band or bracket when chewing gum, hard candy and sticky foods. You can 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 disinfect the clippers or wire cutter first with rubbing alcohol, if handy, or use the flame on a lighter to kills the germs. Once the wire is clipped, 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. Apply wax or sugarless gum if needed to avoid irritation from the cut wire. We can repair when you return.
Loose bracket- Hard foods are the main cause of loose brackets. During the summer, we all tend to be 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 the bracket does come loose from a tooth, remove the bracket with a pair of disinfected tweezers if you can and continue on your merry way. Do not forget to contact us when you return so we can schedule an appointment to replace the bracket. It is difficult to repair an emergency during your regular appointment when there isn’t sufficient time scheduled to repair.
Loose ligature wire or elastic- If a small elastic ligature (the piece that attaches the archwire to the bracket) comes partially or completely off your braces, use a pair of disinfected tweezers to put it back into place. If a ligature is lost, don’t worry about it. Call us when you return.
If you experience a true emergency where you are so uncomfortable you can’t wait til you get back, contact the local dental society for an orthodontist recommendation. You can also search on your cell phone for an orthodontist near you. Most orthodontists provide an emergency contact number when out of the office and will help an out of town patient with a problem they can not easily attend to on their own. A local emergency room is always a last resort.
Please do not hesitate to give us a call at 630.907.9680 to ask us for guidance if you don’t know what to do in these sticky situations. Our goal here at Varghese Orthodontics is to provide you with the most excellence of service and- just as important- to be sure you are comfortable and safe throughout the course of your treatment, even when you are away.