Orthodontic Emergencies

There are very few true orthodontic emergencies, but we are always available to help you. The health and safety of our patient's is always a top priority.  If you have a broken appliance or are experiencing intense pain, please call us as soon as possible. We will do our best to fit you into the schedule for an appointment. Even if you have a regular appointment scheduled, call immediately to notify us that you need an appliance repaired.  Surprisingly, most orthodontic problems can be remedied at home. While you await your appointment, these guidelines will help you resolve minor problems. Please know that even if you alleviate the pain caused by your broken appliance, you still need a repair appointment.

Common Orthodontic Problems

Lost Separator

Do not worry about losing a separator, but please call our office to see if it needs to be replaced.

Sore Teeth/Discomfort with Orthodontic Treatment

When you first get your braces, and sometimes after you have an adjustment appointment, your teeth and mouth will feel sore. This is perfectly normal.  However, to alleviate the pain, you may take acetaminophen or other non-aspirin pain relievers while you adjust to your new braces. You can also gargle lukewarm saltwater, which is a mixture of one teaspoon of salt dissolved in eight ounces of water. A warm wash cloth or a heating pad may also reduce the soreness in your jaws.

It is also not uncommon for your lips, cheeks, and tongue to become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become used to the braces. We would be happy to give you some wax that you can put over the braces to lessen the tenderness. If you need some wax, please let us know!

Loose Teeth

If your teeth begin feeling a little loose, don't worry; this is normal! Your braces must first loosen your teeth in order to move them into the right position. Once your teeth have been re-positioned, they will no longer be loose.

Wire Irritations

Try moving the wire away from the irritated area with a cotton swab or eraser. If the wire will not move, try covering the end of it with a small piece of cotton or a small amount of wax. If the wire is painful, you can cut it with nail clippers or scissors that have been washed and sterilized in alcohol.

Loose Bracket

First, call our office to see if the bracket needs to be re-fitted. If you have a situation where you must cut the wire or slide a bracket off the wire, you may use fingernail clippers that have been washed and sterilized in alcohol. Please call our office the next business day to schedule a repair appointment.

Loose Bands and Appliances

The bands on your braces may come loose. If this happens, please contact us as soon as possible so that we can check and repair your appliance. If any piece of your appliance comes off, be sure to save it and bring it to the office with you. 

Headgear Doesn't Fit

If your headgear is causing pain, it's usually because it isn't being worn long enough. Please adhere to your orthodontist's instructions.  Wear your headgear for the prescribed amount of hours each day. If the facebow is bent, please call our office for an appointment. Do not try to adjust it yourself.

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