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Emergency Care

True orthodontic emergencies are very rare, but when they do occur we are available to you. As a general rule, you should call the office when you experience severe pain or when you have a painful appliance problem that you can’t take care of yourself. We’ll be able to schedule an appointment to resolve the problem.

The following solutions may help you relieve your discomfort:

Poking Wire

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

General Soreness

Usually there are two types of soreness when the braces are put on, soreness of the teeth or soreness of the soft tissue, the lips, cheeks or tongue.

For soreness of the teeth –

The newer wires that we use can be softened with cold temperatures.  Many patients find that popsicles ice cream or cold drinks ease the tension on the wires and relieve the soreness. This should only be necessary for 2-4 days.  Also, Advil or Motrin taken before bedtime can help and generally one tablet is sufficient.

For soreness of the lips, cheeks or tongue –

This can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater rinses. Dissolve one tablespoon of salt in 8 ounces of water and rinse your mouth vigorously.  Placing Orabase on the affected area may help; this can be found in a pharmacy.  If the tenderness is severe, take whatever you normally take for a headache or similar pain.  The lips, cheeks, and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the surface of the braces.  You can put wax on the braces to lessen this.  We’ll show you how!

Loose Bracket or Band

If your bracket or band is still attached to the wire, you should leave it in place and put wax on it. If the wire comes out entirely, wrap the bracket with a tissue.

Loose Wire

Using a tweezers, try to place your wire back into place. If doing this and using 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 your discomfort continues, place wax on it.

Loose Appliance

If your appliance is loose it generally can be tightened, please call the office and describe the problem so that we may give you the proper appointment. If possible it is best to continue wearing the appliance until we see you.

Headgear Does Not Fit

Sometimes headgear 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 is bent, please call our office for assistance. Surprisingly, the headgear may hurt less if it’s worn more, so be sure you’re getting in the prescribed hours.