Summer . . . no school, lots of sun, sleeping in, going on vacation. It’s my favorite time of year, yours’ too? As our office is always striving to educate our patients about their orthodontic treatment and how to have the best experience possible, I thought it would be a good idea to address summer vacations. . . should something happen to your braces or Nance retainer, what do you do?

I want to stress that these pointers are for vacation – when you are hiking in Timbuktu or the like. Whenever you are in town and experience any issues, please call us.

When on vacation, you should maintain your diligence regarding foods that can damage your braces. Plaque never goes on vacation, so brushing your gums and teeth is still a twice a day event, at least. The number one cause of trouble with braces is eating things that can damage your braces which may consequently make you uncomfortable.

Most broken brackets, usually lower brackets, are not much of a problem. They wiggle around a little, but won’t hurt you or cause discomfort. Any discomfort would be due to the change in forces on your teeth due to the missing bracket. This can be repaired when you return to Portland.

Poking wires: With braces or a D-Gainer, if the pokey is in the very back, at the ends of the archwires, place wax or a small piece of chewing gum on the annoying wire. This will keep you comfortable until your return to Portland. If the small ligature wire around a bracket is sticking out and poking you, then take a spoon or pencil eraser and tuck the end out of the way.

If you run into an issue with your Nance Retainer (the retainer after your Penguin or T-Rex) and the ring around one of the teeth comes loose (usually not both sides at once), try to keep it in place and chew on the other side. If this is not possible, then you can try to remove it. Once started, you are committed. Gently, try to bend the wire back and forth until it breaks, usually at the band/solder joint on the attached side.

When it breaks off, you are done. While trying this, the band may come off instead, solving the problem as well. Call us to let us know that you have a broken/removed Nance and we will schedule you as soon as we can to get you a new one.

Most other issues can be handled with a nail clipper or small pair of wire cutters. When in doubt, cut it out.

Most of all, have a great vacation, enjoy the sights and your family and friends.

Dr. Gary ChapmanChapmanSmiles Orthodontics Team

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