True orthodontic emergencies are very rare, but when they do occur we are available to you. As a general rule, you should call the office when you experience severe pain or when you have a painful appliance problem that you can't take care of yourself. We'll be able to schedule a special appointment to resolve the problem. If you experience a painful problem at a time other than our regular office hours, you may call our office at 831-475-5500 for instructions on what to do.
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 wire comes out entirely, wrap the bracket with a tissue.
Using a tweezer, try to put your wire back into place. If doing this and using 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 your discomfort continues, place wax on it.
If your appliance is poking you, place wax on the offending part of your appliance.
Headgear 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. If the facebow is bent, please call our office for assistance. Surprisingly, the headgear may hurt less as it's worn more, so be sure you're getting in the prescribed hours.
When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and 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; this can be found in a pharmacy. If the tenderness is severe, take whatever you 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!
You might be surprised to learn that you may be able to temporarily solve many problems yourself until you schedule an appointment with our office. When working with your appliances, you need to know the names of the parts of your appliances so that you can identify what part is broken or out of place. 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 appliance to remain damaged for an extended period of time may result in disruptions in your treatment plan.
The following solutions may help you relieve your discomfort:
If you have a poking wire, try using a pencil eraser to push the poking wire down away from your cheek or lip. You can also place a small ball of wax to temporarily cushion the area.
If a brace comes loose from a tooth, it usually remains connected to the main wire and is not cause for an emergency visit. Tweezers can be used to reposition the brace if it flips around the wire and becomes a source of irritation. Call our office at your earliest convenience. It may be necessary to schedule a separate visit to repair the loose brace(s), since repairs of this nature usually take additional time.
If the main wire has come out of the brace or tube on a back molar tooth, attempt to reinsert the wire with a pair of needle nosed pliers or tweezers. If the wire is not sticking you, place a piece of wax over the area. If the wire is sticking you and wax does not help, the wire can be cut with a small wire cutter or nail clipper close to the back of the last brace. This is a last resort if professional help is unavailable.
If an elastic ligature tie has come off from around one of your brackets, this is not an emergency. Please call our office to schedule an appointment for us to replace the tie.
If your headgear makes your teeth sore, the discomfort may be caused by not wearing the headgear as instructed. Please refer to the instructions provided by our office with regards to how often you should be wearing your headgear. 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 and does not fit into your back molar tubes, please call our office for assistance. If your molar band that your headgear attaches to is loose, discontinue wearing the headgear until we can reattach your band. Please bring your headgear with you to this repair appointment.
If your teeth become sore after a visit (as will sometimes be the case) we generally recommend that you take an analgesic such as acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol) or ibuprofen (e.g., Advil, Motrin). This, of course, is the protocol only if there are no known allergies to these medications. Rinsing with Peroxyl or a cup of warm water and teaspoon of salt can also be soothing. Chewing sugarless gum for 10 to 15 minutes following an adjustment can often reduce the soreness that may develop.
If your lips, cheeks, and tongue have become irritated, this is normal for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can place a small ball of wax on the braces to smooth the area. If a small sore has developed on the inside of your cheek or lip, use Orabase or a similar non-prescription topical anesthetic that is available at your local drug store.
If a part of your braces or your retainer breaks, save the piece and call to set up a repair visit. If your appliance is not repairable, it may be necessary to fabricate a replacement.
If you notice some small spaces developing between your teeth while you have braces on, don't panic! This is usually normal and expected as teeth move into different positions, particularly in the early stages of treatment. They will be closed eventually.
If you experience any bleeding when brushing or flossing, that usually means the the gums are irritated, usually from retained plaque or food. Improved oral hygiene via more through brushing, flossing and rinsing with Listerine should solve this problem. If a particular area is painful or you notice a bump of any sort, please give our office a call so that we can help you solve this problem.
If food becomes stuck between your teeth, use dental floss or a proxy brush to dislodge the food. Please be careful not to damage your braces or wire!