Orthodontic Emergencies

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True orthodontic emergencies are uncommon, but you may encounter minor issues with your braces in between appointments. Here are a few tips on what to do until you can see your orthodontist. Even if you’ve managed to alleviate your discomfort, it’s important to still schedule an appointment with your orthodontist to address the problem.

General Soreness

The time period when the braces are first put on, and sometimes following adjustments are the most common times to feel soreness and tenderness. This can be relieved by rinsing the mouth with a warm saltwater solution – dissolve one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of warm water and swish vigorously. If the tenderness is severe, over-the-counter pain medication can be taken. The lips, cheeks, and tongue may be irritated for one to two weeks at the beginning of treatment. Wax can be put on the braces to ease this.

Loose Appliance

If you find that the appliance is loose or poking you, place wax on the part that is bothering you until you are able to see your orthodontist to have it examined and repaired.

Loose Bracket

If the bracket or band is loose but still attached to the wire, leave it in place and put wax on it. If it has come out entirely, wrap it in a tissue and contact your orthodontist immediately to get it examined and repaired.

Loose Wire

Loose wires can be put back into place using tweezers. If doing this or using wax does not help, clip the wire behind the last tooth to which it is securely fastened.

Poking Wire

Use a pencil eraser to push the poking wire down, or place wax on it to alleviate discomfort.

Keep in mind that it is important to take proper care of the appliance to prevent emergencies from happening. Be careful of what you eat and wear a mouth guard during sports and physical activities. It’s also important to continue to maintain a good oral hygiene routine.