Blog Post


Summertime orthodontic emergencies 

Some “home remedies” when you’re away from home

by Jeffrey Eberting, D.M.D., M.S.


As the song from Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess” goes: “Summertime, and the living is easy.”  Well, sometimes it is not so easy when you have a family member in orthodontic treatment, are on vacation, and have a wire poking into his or her cheek.  How are you supposed to handle these emergencies?  I will give you some tips to help you through those trying times.

For whatever reason, during the summer families find themselves far away from their orthodontist.  Situations may vary – it could be a family vacation, an extended visit to family members, participation in residential summer camps, and the like. During that time, a patient may be unlucky enough to experience an orthodontic emergency.  A wire pokes the cheek.  A bracket debonds from the tooth.  A band gets loose. There are ways to remedy these unfortunate circumstances either at home or having to call an orthodontist in the town one currently finds him or herself.

If you cannot get to an orthodontist, here are some “home remedies” that may alleviate your discomfort:

Loose brackets or bands

You may have a situation that requires cutting a wire or sliding a bracket off a wire at night or over the weekend. If you need to cut a wire in case of emergency, you may use fingernail clippers that have been washed and sterilized in alcohol.

“Many orthodontists will treat emergencies to vacationers at no charge if the emergency is simple in nature.”

Wire irritations

Sometimes discomfort caused by a wire on your braces can be resolved by moving the wire away from the irritated area with a cotton swab or eraser. If the wire will not move, try covering the end of it with a small piece of cotton or a small amount of wax. If the wire is painful, you can cut it with nail clippers or scissors that have been washed and sterilized in alcohol.

Discomfort with Orthodontic Treatment

During the first week after your braces are in place and routine adjustments are complete, you will likely feel some pain, soreness or discomfort. You may take acetaminophen or other non-aspirin pain relievers while you adjust to your new braces. A warm wash cloth or heating pad may reduce the soreness in your jaws.

If the nature of the orthodontic emergency is such that you cannot resolve it on your own, then you should contact an orthodontist in the city or town in which you are located at that time.  You may want to contact your orthodontist at home to see if he or she can refer you to someone near your location.  Many orthodontists will treat emergencies to vacationers at no charge if the emergency is simple in nature.

Remember, summer is the best time to have your orthodontic evaluation or begin orthodontic treatment. Call us at Hardin Valley Orthodontics at (865) 690-7115, and we will be more than happy to set an initial consultation to evaluate your orthodontic needs. We hope you have a happy and safe summer!!!

Dr. Eberting owns Hardin Valley Orthodontics and holds degrees from Duke University and Temple University in both General Dentistry and Orthodontics. He is a member of the American Dental Association, the TN Dental Association, the Second District Dental Society, the American Association of Orthodontists, the Southern Association of Orthodontists, and the TN Association of Orthodontists. He is a Fellow in the Academy of General Dentistry. Dr. Eberting enjoys theater, music running, politics, reading and movies. He has three children.

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