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 will 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 to your next appointment. If your braces are poking, put a small piece of orthodontic wax (it will be in your goodie bag!) on the part that's poking . If an archwire slides to one side, gently pull it back toward the other side with a tweezer or needle-nosed pliers, replacing it in the tube on the back tooth if you can.
After alleviating your discomfort, and even if you have an appointment coming up, it is very important that you still call to let us know a time that you have a problem. Allowing your braces to remain damaged for an extended period of time may result in disruptions to your treatment plan.
The day you get your braces, you may feel general achiness in your mouth, and teeth may be tender when biting down for three to five days. Stick to a soft diet until your teeth do not hurt when chewing. Irritated gums and other sore spots can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a warm salt-water rinse. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in eight ounces of warm water, and rinse your mouth vigorously. An alternative mouthwash is Glyoxide which can be found in the toothpaste aisle of many stores. Placing Orabase, found in pharmacies, on any affected areas may also help relieve discomfort. If discomfort is severe, take Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or Ibuprofen (Advil/Motrin) or whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain.
Finally, 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.
If your appliance is poking you, place wax on the offending part.
Loose bracket and /or Band
If your bracket (the little squares) or a band (the metal circle usually found around molars) 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 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 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.
Place orthodontic wax on it so that it is no longer poking, or use a pencil eraser to push it out of the way.