There are very few true orthodontic emergencies. In most cases, we consider these "Urgencies" instead of "Emergencies". You might be surprised to learn that with an "Urgency", you may be able to temporarily solve the problem yourself until you schedule an appointment with our office. Take a look at the following solutions and you'll see the difference between an "Urgency" and an "Emergency"
True orthodontic emergencies are very rare. However, when they do occur, we are always available to assist you however we can.
- Trauma to the Mouth - If you experience severe trauma to the mouth (ie - during a sports activity, fall, bicycle accident, etc.) please seek medical assistance first. After determining that you are not in a life-threatening situation, you'll want to contact us as well as your dentist for further assistance or instruction.
- Expanders Coming Loose - If your expander comes loose on either side or comes out completely, you'll need to call our office immediately. Certain skeletal and dental changes can occur in a short period of time. This could result in extended treatment time or repeated treatment steps.
What to do if a problem occurs or you have a concern
Call our office the next business day if you break an appliance or if any of your appliances feel loose. Please do not come directly to the office – by calling us, you will allow us to create a time to see you. Even if you have a regular appointment scheduled, call us immediately to notify us if you need an appliance repaired.
Loose brackets or bands
Call our office for advice if a bracket or wire becomes loose. The bracket may need to be re-bonded to the tooth at your next appointment. You may have a situation that requires cutting a wire or sliding a bracket off a wire at night or over the weekend. If you need to cut a wire in case of emergency, you may use fingernail clippers that have been washed and sterilized in alcohol. Please call our office the next business day, so that we may schedule an appointment for you. If you remove a loose bracket or band, always bring it with you to your next appointment.
Loose band Broken Bracket
Sometimes discomfort caused by a wire on your braces can be resolved by moving the wire away from the irritated area. If the wire will not move, try covering the end of it with a small amount of wax. Wax does not stick well in a wet environment, so make sure to try and dry the area first with a cotton ball or Q-Tip. Use a pencil eraser to push the poking wire down or back. If the wire is painful, you can cut it with nail clippers that have been washed and sterilized in alcohol. If you cannot resolve the wire irritation, call our office for an appointment.
Some patients will lose a separator during their treatment. Please call our office to see if it needs to be replaced prior to your next scheduled appointment.
Discomfort with orthodontic treatment
During the first week after your braces are in place and routine adjustments are complete, you will likely feel some pain, soreness or discomfort. Our office recommends the use of Advil or Tylenol while you adjust to your new braces. A warm wash cloth or heating pad may reduce the soreness in your jaws. Warm salt-water rinses can help soothe your mouth. Simply dissolve 1 teaspoon and table salt in 8 ounces of warm water and rinse your mouth vigorously. Placing an over-the-counter topical anesthetic on the affected area of the mouth may also help. The lips, cheeks, and tongue will most likely become irritated as well for the first couple of weeks. They will toughen or become accustomed to the surface of the appliances in your mouth. And remember that the appliances are constantly working to move your teeth so it is common for different teeth to hurt each day.