True orthodontic emergencies are rare, but as a general rule, call our office when you experience severe pain or have a painful appliance problem you can't take care of yourself. We'll schedule an appointment to resolve the problem. Allowing your appliance to remain damaged for an extended period of time may disrupt your treatment plan.
You may be able to solve many problems yourself temporarily until you can get to our office:
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. Stick to a soft diet until your teeth do not hurt to chewing. 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. An alternative (better tasting) mouthwash is the Healthy Gums Rinse by The Natural Dentist. Placing Orabase on the affected area may also help relieve discomfort; Orabase can be found in a pharmacy. If the tenderness is severe, take Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain. Aspirin, Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and Naproxen Sodium (Naprosyn, Anaprox) actually slow the tooth movement, so it is not advisable to use them frequently while wearing braces.
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!
Sometimes 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 (metal piece) is bent, please call our office for assistance. The headgear should hurt less the more it's worn, so be sure you get in the prescribed number of hours.
If your appliance is poking you, place wax on the offending part.
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. If the bracket or band can be removed easily, place it in an envelope and save it to bring to your next appointment.
You may be able to use tweezers or needle-nosed pliers to put your wire back into place. Or, if you're missing a colored o-ring, tie a piece of floss around the bracket in place of the o-ring. If you can't get the wire into a comfortable position, and covering the end with wax doesn't help, small fingernail clippers may be used to clip the wire behind the last tooth to which it is securely fastened.
Using a pencil eraser, push the poking wire down or place wax on it so that it is no longer poking.