Caring for Teeth With Braces or Retainers (cont.)

Playing Sports While Wearing Braces

You can continue to participate in any sport you choose. When playing sports where there is a possibility of getting hit in the mouth, a specially designed mouthguard will need to be worn. The mouthguard, made of durable plastic, is designed to fit comfortably over your braces and will protect the soft tissues inside your mouth.

What to Do if a Bracket or Wire Breaks

Broken braces, loose bands or protruding wires can cause problems but rarely require emergency treatment. However, do call your orthodontist to set up an office visit to fix the problem. If you suffer a more severe mouth or facial injury, seek immediate help. Here's some tips to get you through some of the more common problems until you are able to see your orthodontist:

  • Loose brackets. Apply a small piece of orthodontic wax to temporarily reattach loose brackets or place wax over the bracket to provide a cushion between the bracket and your gums and other soft tissues of your mouth. Your orthodontist usually provides orthodontic wax to you when you first get your braces.
  • Loose bands. These will need to be replaced or recemented into place. Save the band and schedule an appointment for the repair.
  • Protruding or broken wire. Use an eraser end of a pencil to move the wire to a less bothersome position. If you can't move it out of the way, apply a small amount of orthodontic wax over the protruding end. Do not attempt to cut the wire because you might accidentally swallow it or inhale it into your lungs. If a mouth sore develops from the wire poking the inside of your mouth, rinse your mouth with warm salt water or an antiseptic rinse. An over-the-counter dental anesthetic can also be applied to numb the area.
  • Loose spacers. These will need to be repositioned or replaced if they slip or fall out completely.

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