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Managing orthodontic problems at home during COVID-19

Dr. Nyree Whitley

We have been closely following official NHS guidance in postponing all routine dental treatment, and although this means we may be unable to see you in person, all of our practices, including our orthodontic practices, remain open to take your calls and support you in any way they can. 

I know you may have questions about your orthodontic treatment and I want to reassure you that we are here to help. We will shortly be sending you some links that you may find useful with advice for managing your appliances and looking after your braces at home. We are also exploring how digital solutions can help us consult with our patients online to make it easier and more convenient to reach us now and in the future.

Importantly, we are working closely with medical professionals to ensure we have the right safety protocols and PPE in place to protect our teams and our patients when we can open our doors to routine dentistry once again. 

Until then, please do contact your practice if you have questions or concerns about your orthodontic treatment and our teams will do their best to give you the advice and support you need. 

We look forward to welcoming you back into our practices again very soon, but for now stay safe and well with our very best wishes from us all at {my}dentist.

Dr Nyree Whitley
Group Clinical Director

Following recent guidance from the NHS, all face-to-face, routine dental and orthodontic treatment has been postponed. These measures will help reduce the chance of virus transmission and reduce unnecessary travel.

This guide will help you to understand where to access care in an emergency, and support you in managing orthodontic issues at home. 

The British Orthodontic Society advise the majority of brace issues are minor and will not compromise the progression of treatment. They can be addressed at your next appointment with your orthodontic clinician.

In the first instance, if you experience a problem with your brace you should follow the instructions to manage breakages, irritation or discomfort that were provided when you had your brace fitted. If however, you are experiencing pain and a high level of discomfort, we would advise you to contact us for further advice.

If you suspect that you may have swallowed or inhaled a piece of your brace, you must call your practice for advice. A small piece of brace will normally pass through even if you have swallowed it.

Looking after your braces

To reduce the need for emergency appointments and a potential increase in the duration of your treatment, it is very important that you look after your braces by maintaining a high standard of oral hygiene and avoiding breakages. 

The British Orthodontic Society advise:

  • Avoid hard, sticky and chewy sweets and foods. Remember to cut up foods such apples, carrots and crusty bread before eating them.
  • Avoid sticky, chewy or hard sweets, mints and sugared chewing gum
  • Preventing damage to the tooth enamel and gums
  • Avoid sugary snacks/drinks between meals and at bedtime
  • Avoid fizzy drinks (including diet drinks and sports drinks) and large amounts of fruit juice
  • Brush your teeth for 2 minutes at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste
  • Rinse your teeth at a separate time to tooth brushing with an alcohol free fluoride mouthwash on a daily basis

Common brace problems

The British Orthodontic Society have some great advice on managing common brace problems such as loose or sharp wires on their website. However, before attempting any at-home fix you should call your orthodontic practice for advice. They will make sure you are able to do it safely, and give further support to resolve the problem.

Visit the British Orthodontic Society website to view the following videos:

  • Replacement of Lost Module
  • Debonded (Loose) Bracket
  • Lost Module/Loose Wire
  • Broken Bonded Retainer
  • Sharp Wire
  • Broken Elastic Chain (Power Chain)
  • Broken Long Wire (Ligature)
  • Exposed Metal Tie
  • Placing Wax to Prevent Rubbing
  • Interdental Brushes
  • Toothbrushing

Looking after your elastics

Six simple steps to caring for your elastics:

  1. Elastics should be worn at all times, including whilst sleeping, unless otherwise instructed
  2. Put new elastics in each day. The best time is after you’ve cleaned your teeth, before you go to bed
  3. If you do not wear your elastics, the brace will not work and your teeth will not progress. This means you’ll end up having to wear the brace for longer
  1. If you’re running out of elastics, please contact the practice before you run out. Don’t forget any spares you might need!
  2. If you are in any doubt about how to wear your elastics, just ask any member of our team
  3. Wearing your elastics as instructed will mean that your smile will be better and we will finish the treatment sooner