Dr. Karen Varone

Braces Emergencies: Tips for Solving (and Avoiding) Common Orthodontic Emergencies

May 7th, 2021

True orthodontic emergencies are rare, but when they occur we are available to you. You might be surprised to learn that you may be able to solve many minor issues yourself, saving you a trip to the office. Please see some common solutions below. If you are in severe pain or have a problem you are unable to remedy on your own, please give our office a call and we can arrange an appointment. We have also included a list of helpful information to have on hand when you call so we can best assess your problem. Please keep in mind that we schedule repair appointments around our regular appointments and most last minute appointments are not able to be scheduled at the beginning or end of the day. 

 

_________________________________________________________________ 

Loose bracket...

If your bracket or band is still attached to the wire, you should leave it in place and put wax on it if needed for comfort. If the bracket or band can be removed easily, place it in an envelope and save it to bring to your next appointment. A loose or broken bracket does not require immediate repair in the office and can usually wait until your next appointment. If the loose bracket is causing discomfort, please call the office. If you have more than one loose or broken brackets, please call the office to let us know so we can add additional time to your next appointment for repairs.

 

Loose wire...

Using a pair of tweezers or needle-nosed pliers, try to put your wire back into place. It is okay to use a piece of floss to tie the wire into place: tie the floss around the bracket in place of the missing colored o-ring. If you cannot put the wire into a comfortable position, and covering the end with wax doesn't help, as a last resort use a small fingernail clipper to clip the wire behind the last tooth to which it is securely fastened. If the end of the wire is still sharp, place wax on it.

 

Poking wire...

Poking wires are not uncommon during orthodontic treatment. As your teeth shift, the wire may start to poke out at the back of the braces. If you have a wire poking in the back of your mouth, you can clip it yourself using nail clippers. If the wire is poking on a side or in the front, use a pencil eraser to gently push the poking wire down or place wax on it so that it is no longer poking. If you have tried these remedies and the wire is still causing pain, please call our office.

 

General soreness...

When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth, and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. Stick to a soft diet until your teeth do not hurt to chewing. Irritated gums and other sore spots can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a warm salt-water mouthwash. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in eight ounces of warm water, and rinse your mouth vigorously. An alternative (better tasting) mouthwash is the Healthy Gums Rinse by The Natural Dentist. Placing Orabase on the affected area may also help relieve discomfort; Orabase can be found in a pharmacy. If the tenderness is severe, take Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain. Aspirin, Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and Naproxen Sodium (Naprosyn, Anaprox) actually slow the tooth movement, so it is not advisable to use them frequently while wearing braces.

The lips, cheeks, and tongue may become irritated for one to two weeks as they learn a new posture and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can put wax on the braces to lessen this. We'll show you how!

 

Retainer or Invisalign tray discomfort...

If your retainer is causing you discomfort, depending on the type of retainer, you may be able to fix it at home. If you have a clear Essix retainer and it is poking or rubbing your gums, you can file the sharp edge/spot with a nail file or small piece of sandpaper. You can try the same at home solution for Invisalign trays. If you have a wire retainer, please call our office if a wire is poking.

 

 _________________________________________________________________ 

 

Information needed by our office to schedule a repair appointment:

If you have tried the recommended at home remedies and are still in discomfort or were unable to fix the issue, please call our office. We will need answers to the following questions to best determine how to fix the problem:

 

  • What is the problem? Poking wire, loose bracket, broken appliance, etc.
  • Where is the issue? Front or back teeth, top or bottom, etc. If you can count where the tooth is (e.g., "the 3rd from the back on the bottom left side"), that is extremely helpful.
  • Level of discomfort
  • If you are able to take a photo of the problem and email it to info@mvorthodontics.com, that is even more helpful!

 

*Please keep in mind that we can only schedule last minute repair appointments around regularly scheduled appointments and will have limited availability during peak hours.

Types of Braces

May 5th, 2021

Traditional Metal Braces

Traditional metal braces are the most common type of braces and are more comfortable today than ever before. Made of high-grade stainless steel, metal braces straighten your teeth using metal brackets and archwires. With metal braces, you have the option of adding colored elastics (rubber bands) for a more unique and colorful smile.

 

Clarity™ ADVANCED Clear (Ceramic) Braces

Ceramic braces are made of clear materials and are therefore less visible on your teeth than metal braces. For this reason, ceramic braces are used mainly on older teenagers and adult patients who have cosmetic concerns. While they are visually less prominent, they do require more attention to oral hygiene as ceramic braces are larger and are more brittle than their metal counterparts. For these reasons, ceramic braces tend to be used more on upper front teeth than on lower teeth.

 

Clear Aligners

Clear aligners, like Invisalign, are a series of invisible, removable, and comfortable acrylic trays that straighten your teeth like braces. Not only are the aligners invisible, they are removable, so you can eat and drink what you want while in treatment, plus brushing and flossing are less of a hassle. The aligners are comfortable and have no metal to cause mouth abrasions during treatment.

 

Lingual Braces

Lingual braces are hidden behind the teeth and are therefore “invisible” when you smile. Lingual braces are 100% customized to match the shape of your teeth; the metal appliances are created uniquely for you. Lingual braces are a very reasonable option for athletes, models, actors/actresses, musicians who play wind instruments, and adult professionals.

 

What is the Difference Between Braces and Invisalign?

April 14th, 2021

It's one of the most commonly asked questions we receive from new patients seeking orthodontic treatment:

"What is the difference between braces and clear aligners (like Invisalign)? Can they achieve the same results? Am I a candidate for Invisalign?"

 

What is different?

Aesthetics

One of the most obvious differences between traditional metal braces and clear aligners like Invisalign is the way that they look. Traditional metal braces are quite obvious and while it's fun to play around with different rubber band colors, this might not be the best for some people, especially adults seeking orthodontic treatment that do not want the appearance of braces. Invisalign are, as the name implies, virtually invisible. The clear plastic trays are made just for you to fit snugly across your teeth, making them almost entirely unnoticeable.

How They Are Attached

Braces are glued onto your teeth and once the metal wires are attached they cannot be removed. Invisalign, on the other hand, are clear aligner trays that are fitted perfectly to your teeth and can be removed easily at any time. Because of this, there is a possibility of emergencies with braces if something breaks or gets damaged.

What You Can/Can't Eat

With traditional metal braces, there are some well-known limitations in what you can't eat, especially sticky and crunchy things that can get stuck or damage the braces' hardware. With Invisalign, there are no such limitations because the trays are removable. So long as you don't try to eat or drink with the trays in your mouth and you follow the care instructions for your trays, you will not have to alter your diet whatsoever.

How You Can Clean Your Teeth

Because braces are not removable, they can also present some difficulties in the ways you clean your teeth and maintain your dental health during treatment. You must be especially vigilant to brush food particles, bacteria, plaque, etc. out of the crevices between and around your braces. And since you cannot floss the traditional way, you should have a water floss system to keep the spaces between teeth clean. With Invisalign, though, there are no such limitations and you can brush and floss as normal.

 

What is the same?

The Results

THE SAME! The results are the same with braces as with Invisalign--a straight, beautiful smile!

Costs

THE SAME! Contrary to popular myth, the costs of braces and Invisalign are comparable and often wind up about the same. We are happy to offer various payment plan options and work with you to find the best option to support your unique situation.

Welcome to Our Blog!

April 12th, 2021

Thank you for taking the time to visit our blog. Please check back often for weekly updates on fun and exciting events happening at our office, important and interesting information about orthodontics and the dental industry, and the latest news about our practice.

Feel free to leave a comment or question for our doctors and staff - we hope this will be a valuable resource for our patients, their families, and friends!