Patients undergoing orthodontic treatment require a regular check-up and regular appointments to ensure a proper result. Sometimes an emergency situation might arise which requires an urgent visit to your orthodontist for correction of the issue. During the present situation where all elective procedures are postponed due to the Corona Virus (Covid-19) outbreak, most orthodontic clinics are closed and doctors are unavailable for procedures. Here I will be discussing the commonly asked questions I get from my patients and the ways to manage those problems at home.

1. Broken Bracket

Having a food of hard consistency or biting onto something too hard with too much force might result in the breakage of one or more of the brackets from the tooth surface. Usually, when this happens an orthodontist needs to take out the wire and the broken bracket and fix it back on the tooth. You can relieve the inconvenience you face due to a broken bracket by moving the bracket back to its original position with your fingers. If the inconvenience still persists then make a small ball of wax and press it over the bracket to ensure it doesn’t feel uncomfortable.

Debonded Bracket

2. Wire out of place 

Sometimes the end of the wire going into the last tooth slot might come out of the slot and cause discomfort during eating. If this happens, then all you need to do it use tweezers or forceps to hold the end of the wire and tuck it under the hook of the last bracket.

Distal end slipped out of the Molar tube

3. Wire sticking into your cheek

If there is a long bit of wire poking out at the back of the braces, behind the last tooth it pokes into the cheeks causing discomfort and pain. The way to manage this at home is by using a small amount of wax and roll it into a small ball. Now press this wax ball against the wire and onto the tooth. Make sure to dry the area with cotton before sticking the wax otherwise it may come out easily.

A distal end of the archwire poking into the cheek

4. Untucked wires 

One of more of your brackets might be tied to the main wire with the help of small ligature wires the ends of which are sharp and usually are tucked behind the main wire. In case the small wire has become untucked then you can manage it at home by using the eraser end of a pencil or the back end of tweezers to push the wire towards the tooth and underneath the main wire.

Untucked Ligature wire

5. Sharp edges of a retainer 

After the end of the orthodontic treatment, most patients are given a set of removable retainers to wear to maintain the results of the treatment. These retainers may be of plastic or acrylic which due to wear may develop sharp edges and margins causing discomfort. If this happens then use a small piece of sandpaper or a nail filer and smoothen out the sharp edges. Use your fingers to make sure that the edges are smooth before wearing them. The way to manage these sharp edges at home is fairly simple but you must be careful in doing so as extra filing may result in the loosening of the retainer.

A removable plastic retainer

6. Cleaning your braces

Most braces can be left in place for many months without causing any problems but it is very important to carry out really good oral hygiene during this time. Tooth-brushing is the most important of all methods of maintaining good oral hygiene. Make sure you brush in the area where the gums and the teeth meet, brush the brace itself and brush the tips, the biting surfaces, and the insides of the teeth. The toothbrush may not be effective in the area underneath the wire. An inter-dental/ proximal brush is beneficial in cleaning in between the braces and underneath the wires.

Inter-Proximal brush is used to clean behind the wire

I hope these methods can simplify your problems at home and ensure they stay at the home initiative of the Government of India. It is highly recommended that you inform your orthodontist as soon as a problem arises and visit him for a proper remedy of the problem after the lockdown period is over.