Emergency Care

True orthodontic emergencies are rare, but when they occur we are available to you. As a general rule, you should call our office when you experience severe pain or have a painful appliance problem you can't take care of yourself. We'll be able to determine how best to resolve the problem.

You might be surprised to learn that you may be able to temporarily solve many problems yourself until you can get to our office. If there is a loose piece that you can remove, put it in a plastic bag or envelope and bring it with you to your next appointment. If your braces are poking you, put soft wax on the piece that's sticking out. If the wire has slid to one side, you can pull it back to the other side with needle-nosed pliers, replacing it in the tube on the back tooth.

After alleviating your discomfort, it is very important that you still notify us as soon as possible.  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 on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth, and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. Try to eat a normal diet, just take smaller bites during this time. Your soreness will lessen the more you chew, much like moving a sore muscle helps alleviate the stiffness. Irritated gums and other sore spots can also 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. Some patients may occasionally need an over-the-counter headache medication for their soreness.  The medication you normally take for a regular headache will help during this time. Please follow the directions on the bottle.

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 to lessen this. We'll show you how!

 

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 needed for comfort. Please call our office right away so that Dr. Barton can determine how to handle the repair.

 

Loose wires

If a wire becomes loose, it may poke your gums or cheeks. You may try to put your wire back in place using a pair of tweezers or needle-nosed pliers. If you are unable to place the wire into a comfortable position and covering the end with wax does not help, as a last resort, use a pair of small fingernail clippers to clip the wire just beyond the last tooth that the wire is securely fastened. Please phone our office right away as a repair appointment may be needed.

 

Poking wires

Using a pencil eraser, push the poking wire down or place wax on it so that it is no longer poking.

 

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Broken or Lost Retainers

Retainers are made after orthodontic treatment to "retain" or maintain the position your teeth. This phase of your treatment is just as important as the "braces" phase. You will need to wear them as directed by Dr. Barton or you may experience shifting of your teeth. For older adolescents and adults, this means wearing your retainers for a lifetime. As we age, our bite wants to deepen and this will cause your teeth to shift. You worked hard for your new smile, make a commitment to keep it forever.