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 unusual discomfort 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.
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 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. Allowing your appliance to remain damaged for an extended period of time may result in disruptions to your treatment plan.
When you get your braces on, you may have general soreness in your mouth, and teeth may be tender to biting pressure for three to five days. 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. An alternative (better tasting) mouthwash is Colgate Peroxyl Mouth Sore Rinse or Healthy Gums Rinse by The Natural Dentist. Placing Orabase on the affected area may also help relieve discomfort; Orabase can be found in a pharmacy. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain will help temporary orthodontic discomfort. Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and Naproxen Sodium (Naprosyn, Anaprox) are great to take for a few days to help with initial discomfort, but can 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 become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can put wax on the braces to lessen this. We'll show you how!
If your appliance is poking you, place wax on the offending part. Place any pieces of the appliances that can easily be removed in a plastic bag, and bring them with you at your next scheduled appointment. Please call so we can get you comfortable and back on track with your treatment.
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.
Using a pair of tweezers or needle-nosed pliers, you may 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, a small fingernail clipper may be used to clip the offending part of the wire.
Using a pencil eraser, push the poking wire down or place wax on it so that it is no longer poking.