Drs. Edstrom, Trigonis
& Swenson
Eric C. Edstrom & Alex J. Trigonis, DDS, MS
Adam L. Swenson, DMD, MS
Specialists in Orthodontics for Children & Adults 

Drs. Edstrom, Trigonis & Swenson & Team
Drs. Edstrom, Trigonis
& Swenson

Eric C. Edstrom and Alex J. Trigonis DDS, MS.
Adam L. Swenson DMD, MS

Specialists in Orthodontics for Children & Adults

Emergency Information

Appliance Components

  1. Arch wire - A U-shaped wire that fits in the bracket slots around the entire dental arch.
  2. Bracket - A metal or tooth-colored brace that is bonded directly to the tooth; it has a slot through its center for the arch wire.
  3. Wire ligature - A small wire that is used to secure the arch wire into the bracket slot.
  4. Alastic ligature - A small rubber ring that is used to secure the arch wire into the bracket slot.
  5. Rocky Mountain Lock - A small tube that locks onto the arch wire to prevent it from sliding.
  6. Coil spring - A metal coil that slides onto the arch wire to move teeth or hold space.
  7. Headgear tube - A tube attached to the outside of an upper band; it allows the placement of a headgear, if needed.
  8. Band - A metal ring encircling the entire tooth; it has a bracket welded to it.
  9. Lip bumper tube - A tube attached to the outside of a lower band; it allows the placement of a lip bumper, if needed.
  10. Power chain - Several alastic ligatures connected together to help move teeth or close spaces.
  11. Hook - A small extension on a band or bracket onto which a rubber band is attached.
  12. Lingual cleat - A small protrusion on the inside of bands; it is used to help seat the bands as well as for placement of rubber bands in some cases.
  13. Palatal arch tube - A tube attached to the inside of an upper band to allow the placement of a transpalatal arch, when needed.

Under normal circumstances, braces do not break. Most breakage problems that arise during treatment are a direct result of eating foods or chewing items that bend wires or break bands and brackets. Most people make it through treatment with nothing broken. What follows is a list of things that should not be put into your mouth. In general, anything hard, chewy, sticky, or sugary should be avoided.


Food Items To Be Avoided


Pizza Crust
Hard Bagels
Hard Corn Chips
Hard Taco Shells
Hard Pretzels
Popcorn Seeds
Sunflower Seeds
Whole Carrots
Whole Apples
Cough Drops
Corn Nuts
Tootsie Pops
Life Savers
Sweet Tarts
Skittles Chewy

Chewy & Sticky

Bubble Gum
Bubble Yum
Laffy Taffy
Gummy Bears
Now & Laters
Jelly Beans
Kraft Caramels
Caramel Apples
Tootsie Rolls
Milk Duds
Sugar Daddies
Bit O'Honey
Marathon Bar
Beef Jerky
Sweet Tarts

Phosphoric Acid

Dr. Pepper
Mountain Dew

Chew Toys

Finger Nails


Red Wine

Minor Problems And Solutions

There are some simple techniques that you can use at home to handle a variety of situations (and perhaps save you some driving time) since most problems do not require an immediate office visit. The following information will help to resolve discomfort until an appointment can be scheduled, or until your next scheduled visit. It is important, however, to notify our office that a problem exists, so additional time can be allotted, if necessary. In order to insure that someone is available to see you, please do not come to the office without calling to alert us about the problem. This may result in an extended wait time or rescheduling you for an available appointment.

Loose Band – It is best to leave the band in place if there is no discomfort. Call and we will schedule an appointment as soon as possible. If the band has come completely off the tooth, remember to bring it with you to the next appointment. If the band is on a tooth where a headgear is attached, stop wearing the headgear until the band can be recemented in our office. Be sure to bring the headgear to the appointment.

Loose Bracket – It is best to leave the bracket in place if there is no discomfort. If there is discomfort, first place wax over the sharp area. If the bracket has an alastic ligature, you can use a toothpick to remove the ligature holding the wire in place, then remove the bracket. If the bracket has a wire ligature, you can use a nail clipper to cut the ligature wire and remove the bracket. Call our office and we will schedule an appointment to replace the bracket.

Lost Separators – In case a rubber spacer falls out, take two pieces of dental floss and insert them through the spacer. Pull on both pieces of floss to stretch the spacer, and then slide the spacer back and forth between the two teeth where it belongs. Once the bottom half of the spacer slips under the tight spot between the teeth, release and remove the floss and the spacer will fit back properly.

Poorly Fitting Headgear or Other Appliance – Stop wearing the appliance and call our office immediately. We will determine how soon to schedule an appointment . Be sure to bring the appliance to your appointment.

Wire or Elastic Ligature Loose/Off – If any of these ligatures come off, call to schedule an appointment to have it replaced. If you notice that the tooth is moving away from the arch wire, the ligature should be replaced as soon as possible. Stop rubber band wear if the rubber bands are connected to the bracket with the missing ligature.

Poking Wire – Sometimes wire ligatures unravel, or the larger arch wires break or slide out of the back bands. Use a Q-Tip or pencil eraser 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 dental wax (see below). As a last resort, the wire can be clipped just behind the last attached bracket with a toenail clipper or small wire cutter.

Dental Wax

Dental wax is used as a buffer between the braces and your mouth. It can be used whenever there is something that feels irritating to the lips, cheeks or tongue. Simplypinch off a small piece of wax and roll it into a ball the size of a small pea. Then, dry the area as best you can and apply the ball of wax onto the rough area. Don’t be surprised if you need to reapply the wax several times a day, since normal talking and chewing activities will tend to dislodge the wax from some areas of the mouth. Don’t worry if the wax is accidently swallowed – it’s harmless.

Major Problems

There are some situations in which an immediate office visit may be necessary. These situations rarely occur, but should be addressed quickly.

Jaw Locking Opened or Closed – If the lower jaw locks open or closed, it may signify temporomandibular joint dysfunction. Call immediately to schedule an appointment.

Blow to the Face or Jaws – Many times, a hard blow, such as being hit in the mouth with a ball or falling off a bike, can embed the braces into the cheeks, loosen or knock out teeth, or in rare cases, break the jaws. It is important to be seen as soon as possible to alleviate any discomfort and rule out any broken teeth or bones.