Emergency Care

True orthodontic emergencies are rare, but when they 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 you can't take care of yourself. We'll be able to schedule an appointment to resolve the problem.  Please note that most repair or emergency appointments will need to be scheduled in the morning as they take more time and concerted attention to address.  

You might be surprised to learn that you may be able to solve many problems yourself temporarily until you can get to our office. If there is 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 tweezers or needle-nosed pliers, 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 a time to repair the problem or to ensure that there will be enough time at your next visit to address it.  Allowing your appliance to remain damaged for an extended period of time may result in disruptions to your treatment plan.


 

General soreness

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. Stick 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 it is not advisable to use them frequently while wearing braces.

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

 

Headgear

Sometimes discomfort is caused by not wearing the headgear as instructed by your orthodontist. The headgear should hurt less the more it's worn, so be sure you get in the prescribed number of hours.  Please refer to the instructions provided by your orthodontist. If the facebow (metal piece) is bent, please call our office for assistance and discontinue wear until you can be seen. 

 

Loose appliance

If your appliance is poking you, place wax on the offending part.  If it is coming loose off of your tooth/teeth please call the office so we can plan on recementing it at your next visit.  If the appliance has come completely off of your teeth please call the office and bring it with you to your next appointment.  

 

Loose bracket

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.  Please call the office to alert us that the bracket will need to be repaired.  We can then plan on making time to repair it at your next visit or schedule a special appointment to do so.  

 

Loose wire

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 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 tooth you can most easily access or to the last tooth to which it is securely fastened. 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.

Back to Top