Luckily, true orthodontic emergencies are rare, but if they do happen, they should be addressed. Call the office to determine how to best handle the problem. Often times, we can walk you through a solution that can make the patient comfortable. Sometimes, we will ask you to come to the office to correct the problem. If you have an after-hours emergency please call the office for further instructions.
You might be surprised to learn that you may be able to temporarily solve many problems yourself until you can be seen for an appointment with our office. If you are able to alleviate the discomfort yourself, it is very important that you still call our office during normal office hours to schedule a time to repair the problem. Allowing your appliance to remain damaged for an extended period of time may result in disruptions in your treatment plan and increased treatment time.
The following solutions may help you relieve your discomfort.
Use a pencil eraser or kitchen spoon to push the poking wire back towards your teeth. If this does not solve the problem try placing wax on it to alleviate the discomfort. The wax sticks better if the braces or appliance are dry, so use a tissue or cotton swab to thoroughly dry the area first. Take a small piece of wax and roll it between your index finger and thumb to soften it; then, place it on the troublesome area.
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, remove the loose bracket or band and place it in a plastic bag to bring to the office. If the wire is sticking out the back, try to place a piece of wax to hold it in place. As a last resort, wrap a tissue or cotton ball around the back of the wire (to catch it) and use a fingernail clipper or wire cutter to clip the wire behind the last tooth to which it is firmly attached. Remove the piece of wire and save it in the same plastic bag.
Using tweezers, try to place your wire back into place. If doing this and using wax does not help, as a last resort, wrap a tissue or cotton ball around the back of the wire (to catch it) and use a fingernail clipper or wire cutter to clip the wire behind the last tooth to which it is firmly attached.
A removable appliance that is not fitting well or is causing irritation should not be worn until it can be adjusted in our office. Call the office during normal business hours to schedule an appointment.
Normal Period of Adjustment
Remember that everyone goes through an initial period of adjustment to their new braces or appliance. This is completely normal and things will return to normal. This period normally lasts about a week, but can be more or less for some patients. If speech is affected by a new appliance, talk out load as much as possible so that your tongue gets used to it.
Teeth usually get sensitive when they first start moving. A soft diet for the firsts few days can help make this period more tolerable. Exercising your teeth with a rubber bite wafer can help make this adjustment period go more quickly. This will keep the blood flowing around your teeth and make them feel better. An over-the-counter pain reliever, similar to one taken for a headache, can be helpful to relieve the discomfort experienced during the first couple days. Follow the normal dosing recommendations on the bottle and ensure that there are no allergies to its contents. Also, your lips and cheeks might get irritated initially. Wax is very good to soften an initially pokey area, and Benzodent can help to soothe irritated spots and help protect them while they heal.
The good news is that sensitivity from braces and appliances is normal and is short-lived.