Oh snap! Something’s gone wrong with your braces and you’re not sure what to do. Don’t panic. If a wire or bracket comes loose, contact your orthodontist. Same goes for a lost or broken aligner. He or she can tell you to come in right away or wait until your next appointment.
Apply First Aid Basics for Braces
Sometimes a braces emergency can cause pain or discomfort. Soothe the soreness with warm water rinses (1 tsp salt per 8 oz of warm water). Also, keep the following supplies on hand:
- Orthodontic wax
- Dental floss
- Interproximal brushes
- Topical anesthetic (such as Orabase or Ora-Gel)
- Over-the-counter pain relievers (such as acetaminophen)
Save Face With a Mouth Guard
One way to avoid injury to your teeth and orthodontic treatment is to wear a mouth guard if you play sports or participate in recreational activities. A properly fitted mouth guard will protect brackets should you get hit in the face. Plus, it will stop braces from injuring gums and cheeks. Mouth guards are generally made from thermoplastic, but since this type of mouth guard is perfectly formed to your teeth, they can actually end up disrupting the braces’ teeth-straightening process. There are several kinds of mouth guards available that are perfectly suited to the combination of braces and sports:
- Orthodontic — Orthodontic mouth guards are often recommended to those with braces or other orthodontic appliances, since they are not molded to the teeth and give braces more breathing room. Orthodontic mouth guards are made from silicone that is meant to keep your lips and cheeks from rubbing or bumping against your teeth and braces. This type of mouth guard is ideal to wear while playing sports, because it is comfortable and able to thoroughly protect your braces from any impact or contact your mouth might experience while you play your sport.
- Stock — Cheap, pre-formed, and ready to wear, stock guards are bulky and can make breathing and talking difficult. They also don’t provide as much protection as other types of mouth guards, because they rarely fit perfectly.
Before deciding on a mouth guard, be sure to check with your coach or team. If you have braces on both your top and bottom teeth, certain sports (like wrestling) may require the use of a mouth guard that covers everything sufficiently. Mouth guards can be expensive, but they’re completely worth it because they protect the hard work of your braces while still allowing you to enjoy your sport.
Let’s work together to protect your smile goals. Wearing braces lasts only for a season; guard your smile and it will last for a lifetime.