An orthodontic emergency exists when something unexpected occurs with your braces that causes discomfort or unexpected tooth movement.
True orthodontic emergencies are very rare, but when they do occur we are available to you. As a general rule, you should call the office when you experience severe pain or when you have a painful appliance problem that you can’t take care of yourself. We’ll be able to schedule an appointment with our office.
You might be surprised to learn that you may be able to temporarily solve many problems yourself until you get in to see us…
The following solutions may help you relieve your discomfort:
Poking Wire: Using a pencil eraser, push the poking wire down or place wax on it to alleviate the discomfort.
Loose Bracket or Band: If your bracket or band is still attached to the wire, you should leave it in place and put wax on it. If the wire comes out entirely, wrap the bracket with a tissue.
Loose Wire: Using a tweezers, try to place your wire back into place. If doing this and using wax does not 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 your discomfort continues, place wax on it.
Loose Appliance: If your appliance is poking you, place wax on the offending part of your appliance.
Headgear Does Not Fit: Sometimes headgear discomfort is caused by not wearing the headgear as instructed by your orthodontist. Please refer to the instructions provided by your orthodontist. If the facebow is bent, please call our office for assistance. Surprisingly, headgear becomes more comfortable the more it’s worn, so be sure you’re getting in the prescribed hours.
Canker Sores: (that may or may not be associated with the braces) are best treated with over the counter remedies available at any drug or discount store. They have two modes of action. One group has some sort of numbing agent that just makes you more comfortable. The other type seals the wound (either by depositing a layer of adhesive or by cauterizing the tissue with chemicals) helping you feel more comfortable. Suspicious swellings in the mouth should be evaluated by your orthodontist or dentist. One exception might be a mucocoel. This is a saliva filled “bubble” that develops inside the lips or under the tongue caused by a very small saliva gland that gets plugged up. If the bubble appears to have only clear fluid inside, you might be able to avoid a visit to your dentist altogether by sterilizing a straight pin and popping it. The drainage that occurs will just be backed up saliva that could not flow due to a plugged up duct.
General Soreness: When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. This can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a warm salt water mouthwash. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in 8 ounces of warm water, and rinse your mouth vigorously. If the tenderness is severe, take aspirin or whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain.
Remember, after alleviating your discomfort, it is still very important that you call our office as soon as possible to schedule a time to repair the problem.