Most problems can be addressed without having to come into the office
When you call our office, please explain your emergency and we will guide you regarding what needs to be done next. Below we offer a number of tips for handling basic orthodontic emergencies.
True orthodontic emergencies are rare, but when they occur we are available to you. As a general rule, you should call our office when you experience severe pain or have a painful appliance problem you can’t take care of yourself. We’ll be able to schedule an appointment to resolve the problem.
Easy solutions to common orthodontic problems
You might be surprised to learn that you may be able to solve many problems yourself temporarily until you can get to our office.
- If there is a loose piece that you can remove, put it in a plastic bag or envelope and bring it with you to your next appointment
- If your braces are poking you, put soft wax on the piece that’s sticking out
- If the wire has slid to one side, you can pull it back to the other side with needle-nosed pliers (re-insert the wire into the tube on the back tooth)
- If there is a piece of wire that is poking the gums or cheek it can be carefully clipped with nail clippers or cuticle cutters
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.
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.
Use a pair of tweezers or needle-nosed pliers to move the wire back into place. If you cannot put the wire into a comfortable position, and covering the end with wax doesn’t help, you can use a small fingernail clipper or cuticle cutter 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.
Use a pencil eraser to push the poking wire down or place wax on it so that it is no longer poking.
When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth, and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for 3 – 5 days. Opting for a soft diet during this time can be very helpful to minimize discomfort. Irritated gums and other sore spots can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a warm salt-water mouthwash. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in eight ounces of warm water, and rinse your mouth vigorously. Always spit out the salt-water mixture.
Ibuprofen (Advil) or Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or whatever you normally take for a headache can be taken to help reduce the soreness of your teeth. This is particularly useful during the first week of orthodontic treatment. Placing Orabase or Orajel (found at your local pharmacy) on the affected area can also help relieve discomfort.
The lips, cheeks, and tongue may become irritated for 1 – 2 weeks as they adjust to the feeling of the new braces. Wax will be your best friend during this time 🙂 If you ever need any more wax, please don’t hesitate to ask.