Emergency Care

True orthodontic emergencies are RARE, but if one occurs we are available to you. As a general rule, you should call our office when you experience severe pain or have an appliance problem that you can’t take care of yourself. We will be able to schedule an appointment to resolve the problem.

You might be surprised to learn that you can solve many problems temporarily until we see you. For example, if you have a loose bracket or your braces/wires are poking, there are some at-home tips and tricks (see below) to help with the discomfort.

After alleviating your discomfort, it is very important that you still call our office 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.

General Soreness

When you get your braces or expander on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and your teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. Try to stick to a soft diet for a few days; however, the more you are able to chew, the sooner the soreness may subside. 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. If the tenderness is severe, you may take Tylenol, Motrin, or whatever you normally take for headache or muscle aches.

The lips, cheeks, and tongue may become irritated for one to two weeks as they learn a new posture and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can put wax on the braces or wires to lessen this. We’ll show you how!

Loose Bracket

If your bracket is still attached to the wire, dry the area and place wax on the loose part to keep it from sliding around. If the bracket can be removed easily, place it in an envelope and bring it to your next appointment.

Loose Wire

Our brackets have a small door that holds the wire in place. If you notice a door is open or the wire is loose from the bracket, use a pair of tweezers or needle-nosed pliers, try to put your wire back into place and push the door closed from the round end. You may also use a piece of floss to tie the wire into place: tie the floss around the bracket in place of the missing colored o-ring. If you cannot put the wire into a comfortable position, and covering the end with wax doesn’t help, as a last resort use a small fingernail clipper to clip the wire behind the last tooth to which it is securely fastened. If the end of the wire is still sharp place wax on it.

Poking Wire

Using a pencil eraser, push the poking wire down. Also, dry the area and place wax so it covers the end of the wire.

Handling Orthodontic Emergencies

Don’t see what you are looking for? Check out the American Association of Orthodontists link for tips on how to handle Orthodontic Discomfort at home!