True orthodontic emergencies are rare, but when they occur, we are available for 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 schedule an appointment to resolve the problem.
You might be surprised to learn that you may be able to solve many problems yourself temporarily 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 call our office as soon as possible to schedule a time to repair the problem. If you allow your appliance to remain damaged for an extended period of time may result in disruptions to your treatment plan and lengthening your time in treatment.
When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth, and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for 2-4 days on average. Stick to a soft diet until your teeth do not hurt to chewing. Irritated gums/lips/cheeks 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 (Alleve) 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 1-2 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 Dr. Altherr. Please refer to the instructions provided by Dr. A. 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 any of your orthodontic appliances like a retainer (above) poking you, place wax on the offending part for temporary relief until you can be seen by Dr. Altherr. Please call our office.
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. Finally, please call our office especially if there is quite a bit of time until your next appointment.
Using a pair of tweezers or needle-nosed pliers, try to put your wire back into place. If you cannot put the wire into a comfortable position, and covering the end with wax doesn't help, as a last temporary resort, use a small fingernail clipper to clip the wire behind the last tooth to which it is securely fastened. If the end of the wire is still sharp place wax on it. Finally, call our office to schedule a repair appointment.
Using a pencil eraser, push the poking wire down or place wax on it so that it is no longer poking. If this does not relieve your discomforrt, please call our office.