Emergency Care

Emergency Care

True orthodontic emergencies are rare, but if they occur, we are available to you. You should always 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 determine how soon we should see you and schedule an appointment to resolve the problem.

You may actually be able to solve the most common problems yourself temporarily until you can get to our office. If you spot 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 (sterilized with alcohol), replacing it in the tube on the back tooth.

After alleviating your discomfort, it is very important that you still call our office as soon as possible to schedule an appointment to repair the problem. Allowing your appliance to remain damaged for an extended period of time may result in disruptions to your treatment plan and a longer 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 for three to five days. We recommend sticking to a soft diet until your teeth do not hurt to chew. 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. 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, so we recommend avoiding them while wearing braces.

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

 

Headgear

Sometimes discomfort is caused by not wearing the headgear as instructed by your orthodontist. Please follow the instructions provided by your orthodontist. If the facebow (metal piece) is bent, please call our office for assistance. The headgear should hurt less as it is worn more often, so be sure to wear it for the number of hours that were prescribed.

 

Loose appliance

If your appliance is poking you, place wax on the part causing pain or irritation.

 

Loose bracket

If your bracket or band is still attached to the wire, you should leave it in place and put wax on it as 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 (sterilized with alcohol), 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, be sure to sterilize the clippers with rubbing alcohol to minimize the possibility of infection. 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.