True orthodontic emergencies are very rare, but when they do occur we are available to help you. As a general rule, you should call the office when you experience severe pain, when you have an accident or sports related injury, or when you have a painful appliance problem that you can't take care of yourself. If an accident or a sports related injury causes a tooth to be displaced or knocked out, please call our office immediately. This is a true emergency and treatment should not be delayed.
For most orthodontic problems, you might be surprised to learn that with the information below you may be able to temporarily solve many problems yourself. 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 appliances to remain damaged for an extended period of time may result in disruptions in your treatment plan.
When working with your appliances and when communicating with our office, it is helpful for you to know the names of the parts of your appliances so you can identify what part is broken or out of place. To help you with this, please refer to the Braces Diagram in the Braces 101 section of our web site.
The following solutions may help you relieve your discomfort:
Using a pencil eraser, push the poking wire down or place wax on it to alleviate the discomfort.
Loose Bracket or Band
If your bracket or band is still attached to the wire, you should leave it in place and put wax on it. If the bracket or band comes out entirely, place it in a ziploc bag and bring it with you to your repair appointment.
Using tweezers, try to place your wire back into place. If you are unable to do this, as a last resort use a small fingernail clipper to clip the wire behind the last tooth to which it is securely fastened. If your discomfort continues, place wax on it.
If your appliance is poking you, place wax on the offending part of your appliance.
Headgear Hurts or Does Not Fit
Sometimes headgear discomfort is caused by not wearing the headgear as instructed by your orthodontist. Please refer to the instructions provided by your orthodontist. Surprisingly, the headgear may hurt less if it's worn more, so be sure you're getting in the prescribed hours. If the facebow is bent or broken, please call our office for assistance.
When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness and your teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. This can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a warm saltwater mouthwash. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in 8 ounces of warm water, and rinse your mouth vigorously. Placing Orabase on the affected area may help, which can be found at your local pharmacy. If the tenderness is severe, take whatever you would normally take for headache or similar pain. The lips, cheeks and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can put wax on the braces to lessen this. We'll show you how!