What Do I Do In An Emergency?

One of the nice things about braces is that there are rarely any true “orthodontic emergencies.”  However with so many different components each experiencing some type of pushing or pulling there are bound to be small issues that arise.  Contact our office with any questions, and we will schedule an appointment to address any problems.  In the evenings or weekends when the office is closed, there are some simple tips and tricks you can use to minimize irritation and pain until we can see you in the office.

Soreness and Pain

The most common problem experienced with braces is general soreness, typically after an adjustment.  Dr. Patel researched and defended her masters thesis on orthodontic pain, and concluded that ibuprofen (Advil) was the most effective in reducing pain compared with the other two pain relievers studied (Tylenol and Aleve).  For patients allergic to ibuprofen, or those who prefer not to take medicine, rinsing with warm salt water is helpful. Because the teeth are sore with the tooth movement, a soft-food diet is recommended.

Mouth Irritation

The inside of the mouth is an extremely sensitive area.  Lacking the layer of skin found on the outside of the body, the nerve endings in the mouth have a thinner barrier between them and anything touching them.  This is why patients new to braces will often experience discomfort as their mouths become used to the brackets, wires and bands.  After a few weeks, your mouth gets used to your braces and the problem resolves itself.  Until then, use orthodontic wax, provided by us, to create a soft and smooth barrier between their mouth and their braces.  Simply break off a small piece of wax and roll it into a ball.  Place this over the bracket that is irritating you and push down.  Smooth out the wax so it covers the bracket completely.  You’ll notice the difference almost immediately.  Don’t worry about swallowing the wax, it is safe and harmless.

Broken Brackets

Though all of our patients try their best to avoid foods on the “don’t eat while wearing braces” list, sometimes cravings get the best of us.  Should you break a bracket, don’t panic.  Typically nothing is actually “broken.” What you felt and heard was the orthodontic glue separating between your bracket and the tooth.  You now probably have a bracket hanging on your wire or spinning around in your mouth.  If the bracket is interfering with your eating you can attempt to remove it from the wire by cutting the wire with a sterile pair of scissors or nail clippers.  Once the wire has been cut, the bracket will be released from the wire.  Save your bracket in a sandwich bag and bring it to our office at your next appointment.

Protruding Wire

As your teeth adjust, your wires may slip out of the back molar brackets and poke the inside of your mouth. Use a Q-Tip or small spoon to push the wire flat against the tooth so it is in a more comfortable position.  If this doesn’t work, cover the wire with wax until you can come into our office.  We will either adjust the wire back into position or clip the end of the wire.

If you are experiencing any of these problems, or one not listed here, call our office immediately.  We will do our best to schedule you an appointment to fix the problem as soon as possible.


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