Emergencies

Orthodontic First Aid

True orthodontic emergencies, those which require an immediate appointment, are rare. Examples of these include the jaw locking (open or closed), a fall or blow to the face that knocks teeth loose, or an infection around the teeth with braces in place. If any of these occur, contact our office as soon as feasible. If you are uncertain as to what constitutes an emergency, it is better to call our office and let us know what’s up. Other problems that arise are addressed below. We’ve included possible solutions you can try to help deal with them at home. If problems persist, let our office know and we will make arrangements to see you as soon as feasible.

General Soreness

When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and teeth may feel tender to biting pressures for three to five days. This can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with warm salt water mouthwash. Dissolve 5 ml (1 tsp) of salt in 250 ml (1 cup) of warm water, and rinse your mouth vigorously. If the tenderness is severe, take whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain (Tylenol, Motrin or Advil).

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. You can put wax on the braces to lessen this. We’ll show you how!

Loosening of Teeth

This is to be expected throughout treatment. Don’t worry! It’s normal. Teeth must loosen first so they can be moved. The teeth will again become rigidly fixed in their new, corrected position, once treatment is completed.

Pokey Wire

Don’t be alarmed if a wire comes loose or is poking you. This happens occasionally, in particular at the beginning of treatment. If a wire protrudes and is irritating, use a blunt instrument (back of spoon or eraser end of a pencil) and gently push the irritating wire under the bracket, or tuck it in. If irritation to the lips or mouth continues, place wax or wet cotton on the wire to reduce the annoyance. Phone our office to make sure we will have enough time to repair the appliance at your next regular appointment. We will bring you in early if it needs immediate attention. If any piece comes off, save it and bring it with you to the office.

Loose Bracket/Band

Brackets/Bands are prone to come loose, particularly at the beginning as you are getting used to them. The most common cause is trying to eat things that are too hard.

If a bracket comes loose, but is not bothering you, phone our office to let us know. We will make sure we have adequate time at your next regular appointment to repair it. A loose bracket or band does not require an emergency visit to the office.

If the loose bracket is the last one in the back of your mouth, it may slide off the back of the archwire and you can remove it yourself (please save it and bring to your next appointment). The wire then may be too long and if it pokes your cheek, you could try snipping it off with nail clippers or a small pair of wire cutters. Make sure you clean them after you’ve taken them out of your Dad’s tool kit and before you put them in your mouth!!

If a loose bracket is irritating or bothering you, phone our office right away and will we get you into to our office to alleviate the irritation. We may need to bring you back in the future to repair the broken bracket. The same goes if the bracket or band was used to anchor an elastic band, headgear or other removable appliance.