True orthodontic emergencies are rare, but when they do 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 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 solve many problems yourself temporarily until you can get to our office. Please read our advice below as a first step.
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 or braces to remain damaged for an extended period of time may result in disruptions to your treatment.
When you get your braces on, general soreness in your mouth is very common, and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. Stick to a soft diet until your teeth do not hurt to chew.
The lips, cheeks, and tongue may become irritated for one to two weeks as they learn a new posture and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. Place orthodontic wax in these areas. We’ll show you how at your first appointment!
Irritated gums and other sore spots can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a salt-water mouthwash.
Make it at home:
- Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in 1 cup of warm water.
- Place approximately 10 mL or 2 Tbsp in your mouth and gargle or rinse your mouth vigorously for 30 seconds.
- Repeat 2-3 times per day as needed.
If the tenderness is severe, take Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain.
If your appliance is poking you, place wax on the offending part.
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. If the bracket has flipped backwards, flip it so the the colored elastic is facing out. This will be less irritating to your cheek.
Using a pair of tweezers or needle-nosed pliers, 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 elastic. If you cannot put the wire into a comfortable position, and covering the end with wax doesn’t help, use a small fingernail clipper 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.
Using a pencil eraser, push the poking wire down or place wax on it so that it is no longer poking.
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