Orthodontic emergencies don’t happen often, but when one does occur, it helps to know that your orthodontist is available to help you! If you are experiencing severe pain or you are having a problem with your appliance that can’t be solved with home care, please call our office. We’ll schedule an appointment as soon as possible so that we can solve the problem and relieve your discomfort.
Fortunately, many problems have temporary fixes that you can actually take care of on your own to hold you over until you can be seen. Here are some quick fixes for the most common problems:
• If you can remove a loose piece that’s hurting you, do so and put it into an envelope or a plastic baggie for safekeeping. Bring the piece with you to your appointment.
• If you have a bracket or wire that’s poking you, put a little soft wax on the problematic area.
• If a wire happens to slide to one side, use needle-nosed pliers to pull it back where it belongs and replace it in the tube on your back tooth.
Keep in mind that these are temporary solutions, and it’s still important for you to call us as soon as you can so that we can schedule a time for your repairs. If you allow the problem to continue, you could cause delays in your treatment plan, extending the time you will need to wear braces.
General Discomfort and Soreness
It’s common to feel some level of soreness when you first get braces. Your teeth may also feel tender, particularly when you bite and chew. This usually lasts for about three to five days. Plan to stick to soft foods until your teeth feel more comfortable.
You can also relieve irritated gums and other sore areas with a warm salt-water rinse. Use about one teaspoon of salt per eight ounces of warm water and rinse thoroughly.
For a better-tasting alternative, try The Natural Dentist’s Healthy Gums Rinse. Orabase is also helpful when placed on the affected area, and this product can be found in most drugstores.
If your discomfort is severe, take acetaminophen (Tylenol) or whichever medicine you would normally use for a headache. We don’t recommend aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen, however, as these can slow your tooth movement.
It will take time for your lips, cheeks, and tongue to adjust to the new appliance in your mouth, and until they do, you may experience some irritation. Wax placed over the top of your braces can help with this. We’ll show you the right way to use it – just ask!
Make sure to wear your headgear exactly as directed by your orthodontist because not doing so can cause discomfort. If the metal piece – the facebow – is bent, please let us know. The more you wear your headgear, the less discomfort you will feel, so be sure to follow your orthodontist’s instructions and get in your recommended number of hours!
Loose Brackets and Wires
If any part of your appliance is poking you, apply wax to the problematic piece.
Has a bracket come loose? If it’s still attached to your wire, leave it in place and apply wax if it’s bothering you. If the bracket or the band has come completely detached, remove it and put it in an envelope until your appointment.
If a wire has come loose, needle-nosed pliers (or tweezers) are useful for replacing the wire. If necessary, use dental floss to actually tie the wire into place where the o-ring would normally go. If the wire can’t be placed into a comfortable position, use a small fingernail clipper only as a last resort to trim the wire. Don’t clip the wire past the last tooth where the wire is securely fastened. If the end of the wire pokes you, place some wax on it.
Wire Poking Out
If a wire has come loose and is poking out, use a pencil eraser to guide the wire back down. Wax will also be helpful.