True orthodontic emergencies are rare, but when they occur we are available to you (day or night). 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.
You might be surprised to learn that you may be able to solve many problems yourself temporarily until you can get to our office. Below are a list of possible emergency situations and some at-home solutions.
When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth, and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for up to one week. 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 solution. 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 as directed by a parent. Aspirin, Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and Naproxen Sodium (Naprosyn, Anaprox) actually slow tooth movement, so it is not advisable to use them frequently while wearing braces.
Replacing a spacer
It is quite common for some patients to lose at least one separator during treatment. Most of the time separators do not need to be replaced. Please call our office if you lose a separator so we can determine whether or not you need to have it replaced.
Loose bracket or band
If a bracket or band becomes loose, call our office as soon as possible. Sometimes it is important to replace the bracket right away. If a bracket or band is causing discomfort and you are unable to get to our office, slide the bracket off the wire and call our office on the next working day to schedule an appointment to have it replaced.
Using a pair of tweezers or needle-nosed pliers, try to put your wire back into place. 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 last tooth to which it is securely fastened. If the end of the wire is still sharp place wax on it.
If a wire is causing irritation, try pushing it away from the irritated area by using the eraser end of a pencil or a cotton swab. If the wire cannot be tucked away, cover the end with a small piece of orthodontic wax or a wet cotton ball. If your lips or cheeks are irritated, place wax on the area to reduce the annoyance. If you cannot resolve the irritation, please call the office to schedule an appointment.