Common Emergency Problems

Orthodontic emergences are fortunately infrequent. If you follow our instructions carefully then very little will go wrong. However, occasionally you may run into problems.

  • Broken fixed braces – either a bracket becomes detached or a wire slips out. Do your best by following the advice below and let the practice know about your problem.
  • Broken removable brace – the plastic may crack or a wire may snap. Keep wearing it if you can but if it is uncomfortable stop wearing the brace and let the practice know about your problem.
  • Lost removable brace – don’t wait for your teeth to move. Let the practice know about this problem and we can arrange replacements.
  • Headgear may not fit properly – stop wearing your headgear immediately. If you experience an eye injury from your headgear, treat this as a medical emergency and seek immediately an ophthalmic opinion at your local Accident and Emergency Department.

New Braces

Expect some discomfort from new braces, they are like new shoes and can rub to start with.

  • Take your normal headache tablet if your teeth ache. You may need to take this regularly for the first 24-48 hours.
  • New braces can make your teeth ache for the first THREE days but then it usually starts to get better.
  • If the brace rubs your cheeks you may find rinsing with hot salty water will help.
  • Use your wax pack as advised.
  • Keep your braces very clean because infected gums can be painful.

Emergency Advice and Self Help for Fixed Braces

Here are a few simple tips to help you.

If a fixed brace wire pokes out then you may be able to reposition it with your finger so that it is out of the way. Otherwise you may be able to cover the wire end with a bit of the soft wax we gave you at the start of treatment; suitable alternatives are wither a small piece of sugar-free chewing gum or a small piece of damp cotton wool!
If a long piece of thin wire becomes dislodged from several brackets then you may be able to get someone else to clip it off with sharp nail clippers. Be careful not to swallow the loose fragment.
If a fixed brace bracket becomes unstuck and causes discomfort you may be able to flip it over to face the tooth.
If all else fails you may try and remove the wires. This can be done by removing ALL the small coloured elastics placed around each bracket; try using the end of a paperclip to help you. With all the elastics removed the wire may be gently pulled forward out of the mouth. Please let us know about this, as the wire should be replaced quickly to prevent unwanted tooth movement.

Emergency Appointments

We always keep a few emergency appointments free; please ring early in the morning and let us know if you need one. These are very short appointments to get you out of discomfort. If your fixed brace is broken, it will be repaired at your next regular appliance check.
It’s important that you protect your teeth and mouth by wearing a gumshield for contact sports. Here’s our advice on which gumshield is best for protecting your smile.

When do I need to wear a gumshield?

Wearing a gumshield, whether you are wearing a brace or not, is advisable for all activities where there is a reasonable chance of physical contact and essential for contact sports such as rugby, hockey and lacrosse.

What type of gumshield is best for me?

Gumshields can be custom-made (made specially for you from an imprint of your teeth), or bought over-the- counter (these can be standard or mouldable). We only recommend using the mouldable type, as the fit is usually much better.

When there are both adult and milk teeth present in the mouth it is often not worth paying to have a custom- made gumshield, as it is only likely to fit well for a short period of time. We recommend Shock Doctor mouldable gumshields, which are available from good sports shops or on the internet.

As soon as all of your adult teeth have come through, we recommend a custom-made gumshield, which will provide the best possible protection for your teeth and jaws.

What type of gumshield should I wear if I have braces?

When wearing a brace that can be removed you should take out your brace and wear a well-fitting gumshield whenever you take part in contact sports.

Alternatively, a custom-made gumshield can be made to fit over your fixed brace and allow tooth movement to occur. An imprint will need to be taken once your fixed brace has been fitted, and your gumshield will usually be ready for collection a week later.

For more information on how to keep your smile looking its best visit our website

Before your brace is fitted

Before you start orthodontic treatment find out
what type of brace you will need, and talk to your orthodontist about the instrument you play. If you are having a new brace fitted try to arrange this at a time when you don’t have any important performances.

Functional braces

Functional braces and removable braces can be taken out of your mouth whilst you play your wind instrument. It’s a good idea to let your orthodontist know how many hours you practice each day, because leaving your brace out for long periods of time may affect your treatment.

Fixed braces

Treatment with fixed braces can affect your ability to play a wind instrument, but it is very unlikely that this will last for more than a few months.

Woodwind players

If you play a woodwind instrument you will probably adjust to playing with your brace on very quickly. Your playing is likely to return to normal within a few weeks.

Brass players

If you play a brass instrument you may have problems playing high notes when your brace is first fitted. Don’t worry though, your playing is likely to return to normal within a few months.

Because the mouthpiece of a brass instrument is pressed against the lips, some players find that the inside of their mouth can become sore whilst they are playing.

You could ask your music teacher if your mouthpiece can be changed for a larger one, which may help to spread the load more evenly over your lips. You can also try using some brace wax to protect your lips and cheeks whilst you are playing.

Wind instrument players sometimes get a dry mouth while practising or performing. It is best to drink water if your mouth is feeling dry. Fizzy drinks and sugary drinks can all damage your teeth whilst you are wearing a fixed brace.

If you have teeth removed as part of your treatment, it may be a good idea to stop playing your instrument until your mouth has fully healed.

When your orthodontic treatment is finished and your brace is removed it will probably take a little while to get used to playing without a brace.

For more information on how to keep your smile looking its best visit our website

What is a lingual brace?

Your lingual brace is made up of cast-gold or stainless steel brackets that are glued on to the back surfaces of your teeth. These brackets are joined together by a thin wire, which is secured on to the brackets by small elastic bands.

How long will it take for me to adjust to wearing my brace?

You may experience some discomfort during the first four or five days of your treatment, due to your brace rubbing against your tongue, and your teeth might feel tender.

You may find that a painkiller such as paracetamol or ibuprofen helps to reduce any initial tooth discomfort. Rinsing your mouth with warm salty water may also help to ease the tongue soreness.

There is some soft wax in your care pack, which can be used to cover any parts of the brace irritating your tongue. If the discomfort persists after a week, please contact us for advice.

Will my speech be affected?

Your speech may be affected at first and a lisp or whistling sound is common during the first few weeks. Your speech will improve quickly but you need to practice. The more you speak the quicker you will adjust and the sooner your speech will return to normal. Most patients find that within a few weeks their speech is back to normal.

Are there any foods I should avoid whilst wearing my brace?

You mustn’t bite into anything hard or chewy because this may break the brackets off your teeth. Avoid eating hard foods like crusty rolls, crisps, pizza crusts, toffees and boiled sweets. Also avoid chewing on pens, pencils or fingernails during your treatment.

You will find that soft foods like soup and pasta are easier to manage and more enjoyable. It’s a good idea to cut up hard food into small pieces before eating it.

How do I look after my teeth whilst wearing lingual braces?

Your brace provides food and plaque with more places to hide, so you’ll need to be extra careful with your oral hygiene routine. You will need to brush after every meal to remove the small pieces of food that will get trapped in your brace.

We recommend that you carry a toothbrush with you at all times and use a fluoride mouthrinse every evening to protect your teeth from decay. We also recommend that you see a hygienist and your general dentist for regular checkups throughout your treatment.

For more information on how to keep your smile looking its best visit our website

Your brace has been carefully created to fit your mouth perfectly. As the name suggests your brace is removable, but you should try to wear it day and night in order to get the best possible results from your treatment.

How long will it take for me to adjust to wearing my removable brace?

For the first few days it may feel a little uncomfortable, and you may find it difficult to talk and eat with the brace in your mouth. But don’t worry, you’ll soon get used to wearing it and it shouldn’t be long before you start to see results.

When do I need to wear my brace?

Your brace is an important part of your treatment and should be worn day and night. Wear it during meals unless instructed not to do so and only take it out for brushing your teeth, playing contact sports (like rugby and hockey) and swimming.

How should I remove my brace?

Remove your brace carefully by gently pulling down on the clips at the back. When you are not wearing your brace keep it in its protective box. We should make you aware that there will be a charge to replace your brace if you lose it.

How do I look after my brace?

To keep your removable brace clean soak it in a retainer cleaning solution once a week. You can also clean it with a toothbrush and water. Don’t use toothpaste to clean your brace.

Please avoid clicking your brace in and out repeatedly as this may cause it to weaken and break. If you do experience any problems please make an appointment to see us as soon as possible. In the meantime try to continue to wear your brace.

We will regularly assess your progress but it’s also important that you continue to visit your general dentist for regular checkups.

For more information on how to keep your smile
looking its best visit our website