You may find it surprising to hear that you, as the patient or parent, are able to temporarily fix an orthodontic problem yourself, as a way to hold you over until your next scheduled appointment with us!  It’s helpful for you to be aware of the names of the various parts of your appliances, so that you can readily identify what might be broken or causing an orthodontic emergency.

Once you have identified and temporarily fixed the problem, we still ask that you contact our office so that we can determine if and when you need to come in to have the problem repaired. Allowing any part of your appliances to remain broken or damaged can result in disruptions to the course and duration of your treatment.

The following are some helpful solutions to handle the various emergencies you may encounter:

General Soreness

Braces may cause some general soreness and irritation in your mouth, specifically the inside cheek area, as you are learning to adjust to their presence.  You can use a warm salt water rinse consisting of one teaspoon of salt in an 8 ounce glass of warm water. Swish the rinse around in your mouth, expectorate, and repeat until the solution is gone. Be careful not to swallow! Your lips, cheeks, and tongue may be slightly irritated for a few weeks as they become accustomed to the surface of your appliances, but they will toughen up relatively quickly. Use wax on the areas that are irritated to help lessen the discomfort.

You can also use Orabase on the areas that are tender, which can be found at your local pharmacy. Should the tenderness and discomfort become severe, you can take whatever you would normally take for a headache, such as Acetaminophen (Tylenol). Stay away from NSAIDS, such as Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Motrin, Advil, and Naproxen Sodium (Naprosyn, Anaprox), as they actually slow the tooth movement. It is advisable to use NSAIDS as infrequently as possible while wearing braces or aligners.

Poking Wires

When a poking wire occurs, you can take the eraser end of a pencil and gently push the wire down or place wax on the area to alleviate any discomfort.

Loose Brackets or Bands

Should your bracket become loose but is still attached to the wire, leave it in place and place wax on that area to prevent discomfort. If the wire comes out entirely, place it in a ziplock-style clear plastic bag and contact our office to schedule an appointment to have it replaced as soon as possible.

Loose Wire

Should a wire come loose, you can use a pair of tweezers to put your wire back in place.  If you are unable to do this, and the discomfort cannot be eliminated by the use of wax, you can use small fingernail clippers to clip the wire behind the last tooth to which it is securely fastened. Use this step as a last resort, and contact us to have the wire adjusted or replaced.

Loose Appliance

Wax can generally help if part of your appliance is poking you. Place the wax on the offending piece of your appliance to relieve the discomfort it may be causing.

Should you have an orthodontic emergency that you cannot handle on your own, or should you experience severe pain, please contact our office as soon as possible to make an appointment to see your orthodontist.

As always, you can call our office with any questions, comments, or concerns you may have, as we are always here to help!

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