True orthodontic emergencies are rare, but if one does arise, we want our patients to know we are there. Call our office to schedule an appointment if you have severe pain or a problem with your appliance that cannot be solved at home, and we’ll do our best to get the situation resolved as quickly as possible.
You may not realize that many issues that may seem like emergencies can actually be corrected temporarily at home.
- If you have a loose piece of your appliance, remove it and place it in a plastic bag or envelope until your next appointment.
- If a poking wire is hurting the inside of your mouth, use some orthodontic wax over the area until we can correct it. If a large piece of wire is poking out, ask your parent to use a clean fingernail clippers to cut the wire, then place wax over it to relieve any pain.
- If a wire has become loose and is sliding out, use a sanitized pair of needle-nosed pliers to gently guide the wire back to its proper location and place it back in the correct bracket.
Even though you may be able to solve a small emergency on your own, you should an appointment should still be scheduled as soon as possible. Your treatment is dependent on an appliance that can work properly, so leaving a damaged appliance for too long may impact your treatment time.
After your braces are first placed, you may feel some pain and tenderness for a few days. This should go away in three to five days, but it can be helpful to stick to a soft diet in the beginning. If your gums are irritated, rinse your mouth with warm saltwater or you can use the Healthy Gums Rinse by The Natural Dentist. This can help alleviate sore spots in your mouth. You can also place a small amount of Orabase on uncomfortable areas. If you have severe tenderness, you can take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as acetaminophen. We advise against pain relievers such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen as these can actually slow tooth movement.
Your tongue and the insides of your lips and cheeks may feel irritated for a few weeks, as well, as they get used to the braces. We’ll provide you with orthodontic wax to help relieve any soreness.
If you wear headgear, it is important to wear it as directed by your orthodontist. If you are experiencing discomfort, please refer to the instructions provided by our office. Do not stop using your headgear because of soreness. Mild pain may be present when you first begin using your headgear, but the more you wear it, the less it will hurt.
Appliance comes loose
If a piece of your appliance comes loose, simply place some orthodontic wax over the part that is irritating you.
Bracket becomes loose
Sometimes, brackets can come unbonded to our teeth. Check to see if the bracket is still attached to the wire. If it is, leave the bracket alone and place wax over it to prevent irritation. If the bracket is completely loose and you can remove it, place it in an envelope and bring it to your next checkup.
If you have a loose wire, you can use a sanitized pair of tweezers or needle-nosed pliers to gently place the wire back in its proper place. If the wire remains loose, you can use a piece of floss to tie the wire to the bracket.
If, however, you cannot place the wire back in its place and orthodontic wax doesn’t prevent irritation, clip the wire with a clean pair of fingernail clippers behind the last tooth to which it is securely fastened. Orthodontic wax can then be used on the sharp wire.
If a wire is poking and irritating the inside of your mouth, use a pencil eraser to put the wire down into a more comfortable position.