Dental Emergencies: How to Care for Your Teeth When Wearing Braces and Participating in Winter Sport

Whether you live in an area that gets snow and ice, or you travel to vacation spots to engage in winter sports, you need to be mindful of oral injuries, particularly when you are wearing braces! It’s always important to wear a mouth guard when engaging in potentially hazardous sports like basketball, lacrosse or football as they often lead to oral injuries. It’s just as important when you are skiing, snowboarding or playing hockey as orthodontic emergencies tend to crop up more frequently during these activities.

Oral injuries can be serious and perhaps more so when you are wearing braces. With extra hardware in your mouth, they can damage oral tissues during sudden contact. Of course, there are times when your braces can also protect your teeth from being knocked out during an oral injury as the braces and wires fortify your teeth, providing extra stability.

The good news is, there are typically few true orthodontic emergencies! That said, you’re going to want to seek care should you sustain an injury.

When to Seek Care for Dental Emergencies

– Sudden injury or trauma to the face, mouth or teeth
– Experiencing swelling or infection on the face, mouth or gums
– Severe, unmanageable pain in the mouth, teeth or face

An emergency room visit may be your best bet if you’re looking for immediate treatment for severe pain and injury. To treat tooth damage and oral injury, a trip to the dentist may be required. When it comes to your braces, you can give our team a call to see when we can get you in to make adjustments and fixes. You want to address the immediate cause of your pain, swelling or injury, and then see our orthodontist.

Emergency Orthodontic Treatment

If your braces are hurting you can do the following:

Fix a Loose Wire, Bracket or Band: Press the loose wire gently backward using a spoon, tweezer or cotton swab. You can carefully cut the wire with clean scissors or clippers if you can’t push it back beneath the archwire. You can also place a small ball of wax over the wire until you can be seen by our orthodontist. Wax pressed against a loose bracket can also keep it from wiggling around.

Fix a Loose Expander Appliance: If you are wearing a rapid maxillary expander to widen your upper jaw and teeth, you will need to call our orthodontist if it comes loose or falls out, and follow our recommendations.

For a Lost or Broken Retainer: Unless you have been out of braces for a long while and your teeth are in a relatively stable position, you’ll want to see our orthodontist for a replacement retainer.

Swallowing Braces and Appliances: Although this doesn’t happen a lot, if your braces or appliance come loose from a tooth, contact our office right away. While braces and rubber bands are small enough that they shouldn’t harm you if you do swallow them, you’ll still want to get them replaced as soon as possible.

Orthodontic emergencies are fairly rare, but our team wants to make your treatment as smooth and comfortable as possible! Wear a protective mouth guard whenever you are engaging in sports, whether you are on the slopes, hitting a hockey puck, or playing basketball. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact our office for help and whenever you come in for adjustments and routine appointments. This winter, keep your smile safe while aligning your teeth for a healthy, beautiful smile!

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