While there are very few true orthodontic emergencies, we are here to help you if they occur. Generally, if an appliance is causing significant pain and is something that you cannot take care of yourself, it is a good idea to call our office and let us know. Our front desk staff can schedule an urgent appointment to address the issue. If the office is closed, there are also many instances in which you can solve some of these emergencies at home temporarily until our office re-opens. For example, if the wires from your braces are sharp or are poking you, you can put soft wax on the piece that is poking. If the wire has moved or slides to one side, you can use tweezers or a needle-nosed plier to slide it back into the right spot. If you were able to address your problem temporarily, it is still important to call the office and let us know so that we can discuss whether you need an earlier appointment.
The day the braces are placed, it is common to experience some discomfort or dull soreness for up to five days while the teeth are finding their new positions. Sticking to softer foods like mashed potatoes will help reduce tooth sensitivity during this time period. For the first few days, over-the-counter analgesics such as Tylenol® or Acetaminophen can also help. In addition to this discomfort, braces and wires feel different on the surface of the teeth and it can take up to two weeks for the lining of the cheeks, lips, and gums to get used to these orthodontic appliances. Warm salt water rinses can help in reducing this discomfort as well as applying wax on the surfaces causing the most soreness. Additionally, Orabase®, an ointment that can be purchased at any pharmacy, can be placed directly on the lining of the cheeks and gums to reduce tenderness.
Loose Wire: If a wire is loose, try using tweezers or a neeedle-nosed plier to guide the wire back into its spot. Then, place a piece of wax at the end of the wire to stabilize it. As a last resort, you can use a cleaned, sanitized small finger nail clipper to carefully cut the wire as close as possible to the last securely tied tooth. Afterwards, it is always a good idea to add a piece of wax to the end of that wire piece, as it may be sharp.
Loose Bracket: If a bracket is loose but remains on the wire, place a small pea sized amount of wax on the bracket to help stabilize the bracket in one spot.
Poking Wire: If a wire is poking the lining of your mouth, you can use a clean pencil with a clean unused eraser to push or bend the wire into a better location.