Handling Orthodontic Emergencies

Great news! There are no true orthodontic “emergencies” that can’t be handled at home! These guidelines from Dr. Dan, our emergency orthodontist will tell you how to handle the most common problems.

Broken or Loose Brackets If the bracket is not bothering you, you can leave it attached to the wire. Otherwise, you can attempt to use a tweezer and remove the tiny rubber band off the 4 pegs of the bracket. You can then remove the bracket from the wire and discard it.

If you come in for an emergency appointment, we can remove the bracket for you and make you comfortable. We will replace any broken bracket at your next regularly scheduled orthodontic appointment (it will not slow down your treatment progress).

Poking Wire Occasionally, the end of a wire can protrude and irritate your mouth. This usually means that your teeth are moving and is a good sign! You can use orthodontic wax (see below) or clip the end of the wire with nail clippers or cuticle trimmers.

Irritation of Lips or Cheeks Sometimes new braces can be irritating to the mouth. A small amount of orthodontic wax can be applied to provide relief. Pinch off a small piece of wax and roll it into a ball the size of a pea. Flatten the ball and place it completely over the bracket.

The wax is non-toxic and harmless if it is accidently swallowed. Remember to get a new piece of wax after eating or drinking.

What to Expect You may be sore for the first few days after getting braces. We recommend using Tylenol and eating soft foods for the next 3-4 days.

You will also notice small blue colored bite blocks glued onto the teeth. These were placed to reduce chances of breaking lower brackets while eating and to help the teeth move faster. They will take some time to get used to them.

General Aches And Pain

Often times, pain or problems can occur while out of town or over the weekend. In these instances, you’ll have to wait for an appointment. Fortunately, there are a few ways you can temporarily solve most problems until you can make it into the office for professional care.

It’s far from uncommon to experience soreness in your mouth and teeth as your new braces will tug and pull on teeth to straighten them. While this pain often decreases over time, in the meantime you can alleviate your pain by gargling salt water or applying Orabase to the tender area. Orabase can be found in most pharmacies, and you can simply add a teaspoon of salt to a glass of warm water for gargling. Mild pain relievers such as aspirin or ibuprofen may also be an easy way to reduce pain.

Quite often, your mouth will become agitated from the wires and brackets / braces. Though your mouth will gradually adapt to these new appliances and the pain will subside, applying wax to the harmful areas will reduce the contact of your cheeks and lips to the brackets.

Emergency Orthodontic Care For Appliance Problems

Aside from the pain and soreness that may occur from your new braces, problems with headgear, brackets, and wires may arise. While you wait for your appointment, there’s a number of ways to fix many of these problems. Here are some common problems and solutions to each:

  • Loose Appliances and Brackets – Appliances that come loose may protrude and poke your mouth. Simply applying a piece of wax will cover the harmful area. If a bracket has become loose and it still attached to the wire you can also use wax to keep it in place.
  • Loose Wire – When a wire becomes unattached to the bracket, you can use tweezers to push the wire back into place. If wax and tweezers won’t work, you may have to clip the wire.
  • Poking Wire – If you have a wire poking out, use a pencil eraser to push the wire down or, of course, use a piece of wax to cover it and reduce discomfort.

If you’re experiencing pain from your braces or are in need of a repair, be sure to contact Showtime Smiles Orthodontics & Pediatric Dentistry® and Dr. Dan. We will get back to you ASAP! We’ll get you back on the road to straight teeth, pain free!