Going on a vacation should be all about having fun and relaxing. But, if you just got your orthodontic treatment done, there is always a possibility that a wire or bracket on your braces breaks, dislodges or loosens, and if this happens, your vacation could turn into a nightmare.
Normally people with braces don’t know what to do about a broken bracket. They got scared or panic. Some will scurry to find the nearest orthodontist well known for the quality of his orthodontic services for a consultation. Others might ignore the problem entirely and wait it out, which is quite dangerous, especially if you’re in a lot of pain.
The instinctive reaction when you first damage your braces is to call up your dentist, but there is no other they can do in this situation then provide helpful and insightful advice. Being prepared for an undesirable situation is the best possible solution, and we have compiled a full guide to help you during braces-related crises. (See also: Most Common Reasons to Get Braces)
Here is the scenario: you are enjoying your holiday with your family or friends (or both) and you suddenly experience discomfort or pain in your mouth. You take a closer look and realize that your braces have somehow been damaged! So, what do you do now? What are the steps you take to stop the damage from increasing?
Step #1: Call Your Dentist
We always recommend to our patients calling us if anything happens after getting our orthodontic services done. Your orthodontist will give you the best possible advice on what to do if something goes wrong with your braces and you are far away from home.
You should always travel with your clinic and dentist’s numbers written in a booklet and saved on your phone, just in case you don’t have access to the Internet; you should call and alert them about any issues you have with your braces immediately when it happens. Whether it is a tiny problem like a bent wire or a major one like a broken bracket, informing your dentist will help them correct your treatment plan and guide you along the way. They will be able to offer advice on what steps you should take regarding the situation.
Step #2: Maintain an Orthodontic Emergency Kit
To help you out in tricky situations, it is wise to prepare and carry an orthodontic emergency kit with you at all times. Much like a first aid kit, orthodontic emergency kits will allow you to tend to any braces-related problem you face. Some of the vital things you should have in your emergency kit are orthodontic wax, sterile tweezers, sterile clippers, and a small mirror. Have in mind that you should not treat the problem if you are not sure about what to do or if you have not consulted your orthodontist.
Step #3: If You Can, Then Go the DIY Way
If your braces are rubbing against your cheeks, or have a bent/poking wire or loose part, you may be able to temporarily solve the problem yourself. If the issue is soreness or discomfort, apply a generous amount of orthodontic wax on the area. With a bent wire, you can use a pair of tweezers to carefully reposition the wire. If a piece of wire is poking into your gums or cheeks, use that same pair of tweezers to move it away or a pair of clippers to cut it off. A temporary solution to a poking wire when it is at the back of your mouth and difficult to remove is, surprisingly, chewing gum! Place a piece of chewing gum between the wire and your gums as a temporary solution. If there are any loose parts that are still troubling you, take a pair of tweezers to carefully remove it.
Again, if you are not sure about how to do it yourself, calling the closest orthodontist in the area is always a good idea. Most dentists are happy to accommodate other patients for an emergency consultation. You might have to give some medical background, but generally, they can easily fix any problem you have with the braces.
Step #4: Book an Appointment with Your Doctor
Once you are back from your vacation, immediately book an appointment with your dentist so they can examine the braces, fix any issues, and address your concerns.
While your doctor might have already explained the different ways that will help you keep your orthodontic device safe, as a reminder, we list them here as well.
- Stay away from food items that can cause damage:
We understand that you are on vacation, but you still should not indulge in hard, soft, crunchy, or chewy food. Hard or crunchy food can cause abrasion or bend/break wires and brackets. On the other hand, soft and chewy food can stick to your braces and pull on the wires and brackets, causing damage. Even whole fruits or vegetables should be cut into smaller pieces before eating. (See also: 6 Things You Need to Know About Eating with Braces)
- Don’t push or prod the braces:
Especially for newer users, having an orthodontic device inserted can feel quite weird. Your gums may feel quite sore. During such a time, prodding your braces could cause more irritation to the affected area. Instead, apply some orthodontic wax on the offending region to soothe the soreness.
- Brush, floss, and rinse:
Whether you are on vacation or not, you will still need to take care of your oral hygiene – germs in your mouth can cause tooth decay! Don’t forget to brush, floss, and rinse your mouth twice a day every day. Remove the elastics from your braces, if any, before you start brushing. If you happen to eat any kind of junk food, brush and floss as soon as possible. Remember to always carry a dental hygiene travel kit with you containing a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, mouthwash, and a small mirror.
Dental braces are there to help you, not hurt you. If you are facing a mishap with your orthodontic device, whether a bent wire problem or a broken bracket in your braces, there is absolutely no reason to panic. With enough preparation and your dentist’s number at the ready, you should be able to enjoy your vacation exactly the way you envisioned it!
About The Author:
Dr. Amir has more than 14 years of experience in the field of orthodontics and general dentistry. During his career, he has been performing orthodontics, cosmetic dentistry, and pediatrics, in private and corporate practices. He is recognized as an important orthodontist in Los Angeles County and runs his own orthodontic practice.