What to Do in Case of an Orthodontic Emergency
Stay calm! A true orthodontic emergency is actual quite rare. If you are experiencing pain that you are unable to resolve on your own, we are available to help you. Many problems can be resolved at home temporarily until you are able to come in for a special appointment. Look over some of our helpful tips that follow before calling the office. Please call before coming into the office. By calling us, you will allow us to create a time to see you. Please do not leave your appliances broken for an extended period of time without notifying us of the problem, we may want to see you sooner as not to disrupt your treatment plan.
Loose or Broken Brackets or Bands
If a bracket has come loose, you may stop it from sliding around on the wire by placing wax over the moving piece. Similarly, if a band is loose you may push it back up onto the tooth with some wax to hold it in place temporarily. If this does not solve the discomfort you can try cutting the wire or sliding the piece off of the wire to remove it for comfort. To cut a wire you may use fingernail clippers that have been washed and sterilized in rubbing alcohol. Please place any broken pieces in an envelope and keep for your next appointment. If you are then comfortable, you may call during regular business hours to schedule a repair. If you have a loose or broken band or wire that is causing pain and you are unable to relieve it at home, please call the office. An occasional broken appliance should not affect your treatment time, but repeated breakage can, so please be careful!
We do our best to ensure you are comfortable after each and every appointment; however shifting can occur between appointments causing a wire to poke into you. You can try to resolve this by gently pushing the wire away from the irritated area with a cotton swab or clean eraser, or moving the wire with a pair of tweezers. If this does not solve the problem, try covering the wire with a small piece of cotton or a piece of wax. If the wire is painful, you may cut it away with nail clippers or scissors that have been washed and sterilized in rubbing alcohol. Again, if this does not resolve the discomfort you can call the office to schedule an appointment.
Patients often lose a separator during treatment. It is not an emergency, but please call the office during regular business hours to see if it needs to be replaced.
If a bracket or hook that you are using to wear elastics has broken, please discontinue your elastic wear and contact the office during regular business hours to schedule a repair. If you have run out of elastics you may contact the office to make arrangements to pick up additional bags. We are also happy to mail them to you if it is inconvenient to come into the office.
Discomfort during orthodontic treatment
During the first week after your braces or appliances are placed you may find that your teeth may be tender to biting pressure and you may experience some general soreness. Sometimes this is also the case after routine adjustments. You may take acetaminophen or other non-aspirin pain relievers while you adjust to the braces. A warm wash cloth or heating pad may also help reduce soreness, as well as a diet of softer foods. Irritated gums or cheeks can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with warm salt water. Dissolve one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of warm water and rinse our mouth as often as needed. Your lips, cheeks and tongue may become irritated for a period of time after braces are placed, but they will soon learn a new posture and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You may put wax over the braces to ease any spots that are rough or rubbing.