Due to COVID-19, our orthodontist’s office is currently closed and all procedures have to be postponed and rescheduled for a later date. At 128 Harley Street we would have given you instructions and you may also contact us in case you have any difficulties. In case you are still wondering how to handle potential orthodontic issues at home, there are some steps that you can take to temporarily fix or alleviate any discomfort and ensure continuity of the progress achieved so far. We would still encourage you to get in touch in case you have any difficulties. In our specialty, most issues can be handled with no untoward consequences.
During this time, make sure to stay in contact with your orthodontist, Dr Stefan about when we plan to reopen. The government gave us guidelines to reopen in June and is currently limited to treatment such as emergencies to start with. Normality is expected to return by July. We will remain available over the phone and email and we will be more than happy to answer any queries that you might have.
Supplies that you might come in handy!
With these accessories at hand, you will be prepared to handle the most common orthodontic issues
- Orthodontic relief also known as comfort wax
- Dental floss which is obtainable over the counter
- Disinfected tweezers
- Interproximal brushes such as TePe brushes
- Non-prescription pain reliever such as paracetamol or ibuprofen
- Topical Anaesthetic spray or ointments
- Salt mouth rinses in case you have mouth ulcers
Lost Elastomerics or ‘O-rings’
An elastomeric (coloured or not) sometimes referred to as “O” rings are the tiny rubber bands, that holds the orthodontic wire and forms the brace system. If a rubber o-ring came off partially, you may be able to put it back in place using disinfected tweezers. If a wire ligature came loose, simply remove it with the tweezers. In case this fine wire ligature is sticking out into the lip but is not loose, it may be bent back down with a Q-tip or pencil eraser to eliminate the irritation.
Discomfort or Pain
It’s normal to have some discomfort during orthodontic treatment as your teeth move however it should not last longer than a couple days. It should also be alleviated with pain killers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water by dissolving coarse salt in tepid water should also help with the discomfort. If the discomfort lasts longer than a couple days, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Some patients are susceptible to episodes of mouth sores without braces. The braces do not cause them, however they may be precipitate or exacerbate the existing or new irritations even more. The cheeks, lips or tongue are common areas where ulcers may appear. This is not an emergency but may be very uncomfortable especially until the ulcers heal. Prompt relief may be achieved by applying a small amount of topical anaesthetic which can be found over the counter such as Difflam™ spray or Orabase protective paste, which are applied directly to the ulcerated surface using a cotton swab – reapply as needed. If after a couple days the discomfort does not resolve, please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss this further.
Irritation in the Mouth
Sometimes braces can irritate the mouth or parts of the mouth, especially initially till your mouth are getting used to them and you are getting used to daily life wearing them. The wires come in different sizes and the initial ones are very small in size however tend to cause the most discomfort as you are least used to them. The best solution is to use a small amount of orthodontic relief wax makes an excellent cushion between the wire and the mouth usually in the cheek area. Simply pinch off a small piece and roll it into a ball the size of a small pea. Flatten the ball and place it completely over the area of the braces causing irritation. Wax can be purchased at any drug store if you are unable to get some from your orthodontist during this time. We have completely shut the practice and we are following the government guidelines as to when we can reopen safely.
The braces are active and when the teeth are moving, the end of a wire can elongate towards the back of the brace. This “growing wire” at the end can irritate the cheeks. It might be a good idea in such a case to use a Q-tip or clean tweezer and try to push the wire so that you push it flat against the tooth. If the wire cannot be moved into a comfortable position, cover it with relief wax. This normally is provided to you in a tiny little box. You can select a very small sample, round it and press it against the end of the protruding wire so that the sharp end does not rub against your cheeks. This is very similar to the process described above.
Loose Braces or Bands
If the braces or bands have come loose in any way, please call us at 128 Harley Street Dental Suite so that your orthodontist can plan and prioritise your next appointment.
Running out of Elastic Bands
During this temporary closure due to the coronavirus pandemic, we suggest to give your mouth a “break” and stop using the elastic bands. This won’t compromise your treatment in any way but it will give us the time to catch up with your progress when we are able to meet again in person at the practice. We are hoping that normality is achieved in the next few weeks.
We would like to thank you for your understanding during these times and we will certainly be looking forward to welcoming you back in due course.
Dr. Stefan Abela
BChD, MFDS, RCS Eng, MSc, MORTH RCS Ed, AHEA, FDS Orth RCS Ed
Stefan is a Consultant in Orthodontics at one of the most prestigious London teaching hospitals; Guy’s and St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust.
Stefan is also a specialist in Orthodontics and is registered on the General Dental Council (GDC) specialist list. Stefan qualified as a dental surgeon in 2003 and underwent further training in various specialties including restorative dentistry, paediatric dentistry, oral medicine and complex oral and maxillofacial surgery including the management of facial trauma.