Receiving orthodontic treatment can be quite the transition, especially if it is your first time. Treatment requires a bit of an adjustment and it is not uncommon for patients to experience soreness or minor aching when appliances are first placed or settling into a new position. It is very rare for patients receiving treatment to experience an emergency; however we understand that it is comforting to know the difference between a true emergency that requires immediate attention and a minor problem that can be addressed by you until you are able to come into your dentist’s office. Determining the severity of your situation in the beginning can save you time and stress!
It should put your mind at ease to know that, as mentioned before, orthodontic emergencies are rare. The three major emergencies to consider while in braces are the following:
- Trauma/Injury to your teeth, mouth, or face
- Infection/swelling of your gums, mouth, or face
- Unmanageable discomfort or pain in any of these areas
In the event that you experience any of the above, it is important call the office immediately.
Each of these situations can be the sign of infection or disease, which needs to be addressed sooner rather than later in order to receive the proper care.
Many minor problems and irritation can be fixed on your own (allowing to play Orthodontist for a day!) Some specific examples of minor issues and ways they can be treated at home include:
- Poking wire, bracket, or tie
This can be fixed using familiar items that we all have around the house: a pencil eraser or Q-tip. Use either to push down the poking wire or apply orthodontic wax to the metal wire, bracket, or tie to alleviate discomfort. You can also use a nail clipper sterilized in alcohol to cut the poking piece, though we advise that you call our office so that we can walk you through how to do it properly.
- Loose/broken brackets, bands, or wires
The best thing to do in this situation is to leave it as is if the wire or bracket is still attached. For discomfort, apply the wax to the offending metal. Please be sure to schedule an appointment with our office to let us know what happened and allow us to show you how to move forward. Be sure to bring all loose parts with you when you come!
- General tooth pain or loosening
Do not fear tooth loosening; it simply means that your treatment is working! To deal with the offending pain, you can take an over the counter medication that you use for headaches. We also advise doing a salt water rinse (one teaspoon of salt in an 8-oz glass of water) for 30 seconds twice a day.
We truly hope this post has shed some light on any problems you may have come across since receiving orthodontic treatment. We want to make your orthodontic experience as pleasant as possible and also seek to save you time and worry. Please do not hesitate to contact our office with any questions you may have concerning medical emergencies or minor problems. We look forward to hearing from you!