First Aid

Dr. Charles Gulland Meet the Doctor 2016We don’t always expect you to have problems with your braces, but in the event that you do, always call us.

Please check your appliances daily as you have been shown to ensure nothing is loose, sliding or “off.” Call if you discover anything unusual. A special repair appointment may be needed even if you have an upcoming appointment. Routine appointments may not allow time to make a repair.

Poking Wire (Irritating the Cheek)

Occasionally during treatment, an archwire may shift and become more exposed behind the molar on one side. This can be very uncomfortable. Be sure to call our scheduling coordinator any time there is pain or discomfort due to a wire poking or a wire coming out of its slot. To avoid irritation until we see you, use orthodontic wax.

Loose Brackets

Losing a bracket can mean losing valuable treatment time; it is essential that you call and notify us of any breakage. If our mutual schedules do not accommodate an immediate repair appointment and the loose bracket is causing discomfort, we will schedule a comfort appointment until the time that the bracket can be fixed. Please do not wait until your regular appointment to inform us of a breakage. Time is allotted for the procedure we have planned to perform only. Often, we do not have time to do both the repair and the planned adjustment. A call ahead of time may allow us to add more time to an adjustment appointment, or to schedule a separate repair appointment as soon as possible.

Lost or Broken Retainer

Wearing and taking care of your retainer is just as important as wearing your braces. Without regular retainer wear, your teeth will tend to shift. If you have lost or broken your retainer, call our office as soon as possible. We will need to schedule an appointment for an impression to make a new retainer.


What to Do in Case of Emergency
Call our office as soon as possible if you break or loosen any of your appliances. Please do not come directly to the office – by calling us, you will allow us to create a time to see you. Even if you have a regular appointment scheduled, call us immediately to notify us if you need an appliance repaired.

Loose Brackets or Bands
loose_bands.jpgCall our office immediately for advice if a brace or wire is loosened. The brace may need to be re-fitted as soon as possible. You may have a situation that requires cutting a wire or sliding a bracket off a wire at night or over the weekend. If you need to cut a wire in case of emergency, you may use fingernail clippers that have been washed and sterilized in alcohol. Please call our office the next business day so that we may schedule an appointment for you.

Wire Irritations
Sometimes discomfort caused by a wire on your braces can be resolved by moving the wire away from the irritated area with a cotton swab or eraser. If the wire will not move, try covering the end of it with a small piece of cotton or a small amount of wax. If the wire is painful, you can cut it with nail clippers or scissors that have been washed and sterilized in alcohol. If you cannot resolve the wire irritation, call our office for an appointment.

Lost Separators
Most patients lose a separator during their treatment. Do not worry about losing a separator, but call our office to see if it needs to be replaced.


During treatment you will likely feel some pain, soreness, or discomfort. You may take acetaminophen or other non-aspirin pain relievers while you adjust to your new braces. A warm wash cloth or heating pad may reduce the soreness in your jaws.

The First Week
Dr. G recommends eating softer foods for the first week after you get your braces. This may actually be more comfortable for you as well as your teeth will become sore. This will usually last for three to four days. Your teeth may not touch when you close down – this is temporary. You may also notice some oral irritations such as ulcers, which usually disappear after about 10 days. Orthodontic wax, which can be found in the toothpaste aisle of pharmacies and discount stores, can be rolled into a ball and placed on dry brackets around the area causing irritation. Zilactin-B, an over-the-counter gel has temporary numbing properties, which can ease discomfort.


Preventing Problems

After the first week, you can eat most of the good things you eat now. However, you should not eat hard, sticky, gooey or crunchy foods while wearing braces, as this could pull or knock the braces off your teeth. Soft drinks, Kool Aid and sports drinks are high in sugar and/or acidic products and should be avoided to eliminate the formation of white scars (decalcification).

Foods to avoid include:

  • Jolly Ranchers
  • Life Savers
  • Starbursts
  • Caramels
  • Tortilla chips
  • Hard taco shells
  • Jerky