Emergency Care

True orthodontic emergencies are rare, but when they occur we are here for you. As a general rule, you should call our office when you experience severe pain or have a painful appliance problem you cannot solve yourself. In that case, we will schedule an appointment to resolve the problem.

There are many appliance-related problems that you can solve temporarily. However, after alleviating your discomfort, it is very important that you still call our office as soon as possible to schedule a time to repair the problem. Allowing your appliance to remain damaged for an extended period of time may result in disruptions to your treatment plan.


 

General soreness

When your braces are first applied, you may feel general soreness in your mouth, and teeth may be tender to biting pressures; this will last for three to five days. Stick to a soft diet until your teeth do not hurt while chewing. Irritated gums and other sore spots can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a warm salt-water mouthwash. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt into eight ounces of warm water, and rinse your mouth vigorously. If the tenderness is severe, take Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain. Aspirin, Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and Naproxen Sodium (Naprosyn, Anaprox) actually slow the tooth movement, therefore, it is not advisable to use them frequently while wearing braces.

The lips, cheeks, and tongue may become irritated for one to two weeks as they learn a new posture and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can apply wax on the braces to mitigate this. We’ll show you how!

 

Headgear

Not wearing the headgear as instructed by your orthodontist can cause discomfort. Please refer to the instructions provided by your orthodontist. If the facebow (metal piece) becomes bent, please call our office for assistance. The pain associated with wearing your headgear should lessen as you wear it more, so be sure to wear it the prescribed number of hours.

 

Loose appliance

If your appliance is poking you, place wax on the offending part.

 

Loose bracket

If your bracket or band is still attached to the wire, you should leave it in place and put wax on it if needed for comfort. If the bracket or band can be removed easily, place it in an envelope and save it to bring to your next appointment.

 

Loose wire

Using a pair of tweezers or needle-nosed pliers, try to put your wire back into place. It is okay to use a piece of floss to tie the wire into place: tie the floss around the bracket in place of the missing colored o-ring. If you cannot put the wire into a comfortable position, and covering the end with wax doesn’t help, as a last resort use a small fingernail clipper to clip the wire behind the last tooth to which it is securely fastened. If the end of the wire is still sharp place wax on it.

 

Poking wire

Using a pencil eraser, push the poking wire down or place wax on it so that it is no longer poking.