Emergencies can happen when you least expect them; and they often happen when it’s least convenient, too! That said, one of the biggest inconveniences you can experience if you have braces is an orthodontic emergency. Whether it’s a broken wire or bracket, a lost retainer, painful mouth sores, or some other type of oral injury, these situations can be alarming; after all, your smile is at stake! But luckily, orthodontic emergencies can easily be avoided with a little knowledge and forethought. Here are four helpful tips for preventing orthodontic emergencies and keeping your treatment progress right on track.
Tip #1: Watch What You Eat
There are several foods out there that pose a serious threat to orthodontic treatment! Most patients wear braces for two years on average, and during that period, all sticky, chewy, crunchy, and particularly hard foods should be avoided. It might seem tough to give up things like popcorn and bubblegum for such a long time, but the damage that these items can cause to your braces is quite severe and is something you should want to avoid.
Tip #2: Manage Your Discomfort Accordingly
It’s normal to feel some discomfort throughout your orthodontic treatment; after all, your teeth are being shuffled and moved around your mouth! This discomfort is especially apparent immediately after starting treatment. However, you can often manage this pain using over-the-counter pain relievers or gargling a warm, saltwater solution. If your pain isn’t subsiding, it might be indicative of a serious problem that necessitates treatment.
Tip #3: Practice Sports Safety
Having braces doesn’t mean that participating in sports is off-limits, but it does mean that you should take some extra precautions! Sports-related injuries to the mouth and jaw are pretty common, but a simple mouthguard can offer an immense amount of protection during sports and physical activity. These handy devices protect your whole mouth by redistributing the force of impact across all of your teeth, rather than just the point of contact. This means that your teeth and orthodontics alike are well-protected.
Tip #4: Keep Your Mouth Clean
Perhaps the most important way to avoid orthodontic emergencies is by practicing good oral hygiene—having braces absolutely does not exempt you from brushing and flossing! It’s even easier for food particles and debris to become trapped inside your mouth if you have braces, which means that you’re more susceptible to tooth decay, cavities, and other serious health problems that could escalate into an emergency.
Orthodontic emergencies might be a rare occurrence, but they can still happen any time, any place, and without discretion. That said, following these tips will greatly reduce the chances of you experiencing one and will ensure that your new smile is delivered right on schedule.
About the Practice
Ortega Orthodontics is proud to serve patients and families in the Jacksonville, FL area under the leadership of Dr. William “Vaughn” Holland. A Florida native himself, Dr. Holland received his dental doctorate from the University of Florida College of Dentistry. He is a member of several professional organizations including the American Dental Association, the Florida Dental Association, and the American Association of Orthodontists. His practice is pleased to offer many available services including treating orthodontic emergencies. If you or a loved one is suffering from an orthodontic emergency, don’t hesitate to call to schedule a visit: (904) 388-4600.