There are many parts to orthodontic appliances and many ways the parts could malfunction. Each can significantly increase the amount of time in treatment. That’s why we work hard to minimize the risk that you’ll experience a problem. However, we understand that accidents happen and are happy to help out if you’re having trouble. If something seems wrong, please notify us as soon as possible so that we can schedule the appropriate amount of time to correct the issue at your next visit. If you are unsuccessful at resolving the issue using this resource, please call 208-323-4458 for assistance.  Remember, wax is your best ally in a pinch and it’s free at our office—so make sure you have a supply at home. The following is a list of typical problems with appliances and some first-aid tips: 

Bracket off: We’ll need to re-bond the bracket. If it’s a bracket on the last tooth and the wire is poking, try cutting the wire with nail clippers or wire cutters.

Band loose: We’ll need to re-bond the band.

Bent wire: Bent wires cause unwanted tooth movement which will take additional time to correct. Avoid bending the wire in the first place by avoiding thick, hard, or chewy foods.

Elastic chain broke: If it just came off a bracket, try to use tweezers to place it back around the bracket. If the chain broke, call us. If left off too long it could cause unwanted rotation of teeth.

Lace (or steel tie) broke: These metal strings hold the wire in the bracket like an o-ring, but have a little tail where it was wound together like a twisty-tie. Sometimes food bends the tail out and it could poke your lips. Try using a tweezer to bend it back and underneath the wire. If the tie breaks, remove it and call us.

O-ring (aka lig-tie, alastic, color) off: These little rubber bands hold the wire in the bracket slot. Sometimes they lose their stretch and come off. If you can replace it with tweezers, great. Usually this can wait until the next visit unless something is poking.

Poking wire in back: Sometimes the wire shifts to one side, making one side stick out the back. Grab the wire with tweezers on the side that isn’t long and place a fingernail where the wire is long and try to slide the wire back the other way. If that fails, use fingernail clippers to cut the long part. You can always use wax, too. If all of this fails, call us and we’ll get you in soon.

Traumatic injury: Go to the ER for a true emergency. Call your general dentist ASAP, then call us. Each situation is different and we’ll need to coordinate as necessary.