Given the outbreak of COVID-19, all dentists in Louisiana have been given a mandate by the Louisiana Department of Health to postpone any non-emergency appointments through at least April 16. You can be assured that this decision was not made lightly but was made to protect patients, staff and families. We have been contacting our patients and families by phone to reschedule any appointments affected by this mandate. Of course, we are still available to answer your questions and take care of any orthodontic emergencies. Just call the office to speak to us, email us at either MaldonadoOrtho@gmail.com or through our website contact form, or text us after hours at our emergency numbers available on our recorded phone message. We will be back seeing our patients as soon as we’re allowed!
Given the closure, you may have a few questions:
Will this delay my treatment?
We know part of successful orthodontic treatment is showing up for your appointments. Since that’s not an option under these unusual circumstances, it’s okay. Don’t panic. Though your appointments are scheduled out to achieve maximum success, this hiccup shouldn’t have much of an impact on your overall treatment plan. Given the situation, we will work hard to get your treatment plan back on track when we reopen. You can help keep treatment on track by wearing your retainers, elastics, or headgear as prescribed, avoiding hard and sticky foods and keeping your teeth clean. With limited appointments available, now is not the time to be breaking brackets, and keeping your teeth clean will ensure the best possible result.
How do I handle orthodontic issues at home?
With these tools and supplies on hand, you will be prepared to handle the most common orthodontic issues
- Orthodontic relief wax
- Dental floss
- Disinfected tweezers
- Interproximal brush
- Non-prescription pain reliever (acetaminophen or ibuprofen)
- Topical Anesthetic (such as Orabase or Ora-Gel)
An “O” ring is the tiny rubber band (colored, clear, or grey) or sometimes a very thin wire (ligature), that holds the orthodontic wire in the bracket/brace. If a rubber o-ring should come off, you may be able to put it back in place using disinfected tweezers. If a wire ligature comes loose, simply remove it with the tweezers. If the 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.
It’s normal to have some discomfort during orthodontic treatment as your teeth move however it should not last longer than a couple days. Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water and over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, may alleviate some discomfort. If the discomfort lasts longer than a couple days, be sure to call us to discuss.
Some patients are susceptible to episodes of mouth sores. While braces do not cause them, they may be precipitated or exacerbated by an irritation from braces. One or several areas of ulceration of the cheeks, lips or tongue may appear. This is not an emergency but may be very uncomfortable. Prompt relief may be achieved by applying a small amount of topical anesthetic (such as Orabase or Ora-Gel) directly to the ulcerated surface using a cotton swab – reapply as needed. If after a couple days the discomfort does not resolve, call us to discuss.
Irritation in Mouth
Sometimes braces or wires can be irritating to the mouth, especially when eating. A small amount of orthodontic relief wax makes an excellent buffer between metal and mouth. 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 or you can get some from us.
Occasionally the end of a wire will work itself out of place and can irritate the mouth. Use a Q-tip or clean tweezer and try to push the wire so that it is flat against the tooth. If the wire cannot be moved into a comfortable position, cover it with relief wax. Should changes with your wires occur during this time be sure to contact us to discuss.
Loose Braces or Bands
If the braces or bands have come loose in any way, call us to determine appropriate next steps.
Make sure to stay in contact with us about when we can reopen and to reschedule any appointments you’re going to miss, if we haven’t spoken to you already. If the current timeline for us to reopen changes we will let you know. You can rest assured that government officials are making decisions with all of our best interests in mind. Remember, we are still here if you need us!