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 to resolve the problem.
You might be surprised to learn that you may be able to temporarily solve many problems yourself until you schedule an appointment with our office. When working with your appliances, you need to know the names of the parts of your appliances so you are able to identify what part is broken or out of place. 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 in your treatment plan.
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 is perfectly normal and we promise your mouth will not be sore forever! To relieve the pain, we recommend rinsing your mouth with a warm saltwater mouthwash. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in eight ounces of warm water, and rinse your mouth vigorously. Be sure not to swallow the saltwater. Placing Orabase on the affected area may help; this can be found in a pharmacy. If the tenderness is severe, take aspirin or whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain.
The lips, cheeks and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. We will be happy to give you some wax that you can put over the braces to lessen the tenderness and will show you how to use it. If you need some wax, please ask us during your next visit.
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, the headgear may hurt less as it's worn more, so be sure you're getting in the prescribed hours.
If any part of your appliance is poking you, place wax on the offending part of your appliance.
Loose Bands or Brackets
If you notice that one of your brackets or bands have become loose and is still attached to the wire, you should leave it in place and put wax on it to provide stability. If the bracket comes out entirely, wrap it in a napkin or tissue and bring it with you to your next appointment. Be sure to call the office and let us know so that we can schedule adequate time to repair whatever is broken.
Using a tweezers, try to put your wire back into place and add wax for stability. If doing this and using 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 your discomfort continues, place wax on it.
Using a pencil eraser, push the poking wire down or into its original position until it is no longer irritating the surrounding tissue. Place wax on it to alleviate the discomfort.
Take Care of your Appliances
Damaged appliances can increase the length of your treatment process, so be sure to take care of all your appliances. If something does happen to break, make sure to call our office and let us know prior to your appointment so that we can schedule adequate time to repair whatever is broken. Otherwise we may have to push back the repair to the following appointment, which can prolong the time you spend in braces. Always remember that your teeth and jaw can only move into their correct positions if you consistently wear the rubber bands, headgear, retainer, or other appliances prescribed by your doctor.