There are very few true orthodontic emergencies, but we are always available to help you. If you have a broken appliance or are experiencing intense pain, please call us as soon as possible. We will do our best to fit you into the schedule for an appointment. Even if you have a regular appointment scheduled, call immediately to notify us that you need an appliance repaired.
Surprisingly, most orthodontic problems can be remedied at home. While you await your appointment, these guidelines will help you resolve minor problems. Please know that even if you alleviate the pain caused by your broken appliance, you still need a repair appointment.
Most patients lose a separator during their treatment. Do not worry about losing a separator, but please call our office to see if it needs to be replaced.
Sore teeth/discomfort with orthodontic treatment
Right after you get your braces, and sometimes after you have an adjustment appointment, your teeth and mouth will feel sore. To alleviate the pain, you may take acetaminophen or other non-aspirin pain relievers while you adjust to your new braces. You can also gargle lukewarm saltwater, which is a mixture of one teaspoon of salt dissolved in eight ounces of water. A warm wash cloth or a heating pad may also reduce the soreness in your jaws.
Try moving the wire away from the irritated area with a cotton swab or eraser. If the wire will not move, try covering the end of it with a small piece of cotton or a small amount of wax. If the wire is painful, you can cut it with nail clippers or scissors that have been washed and sterilized in alcohol.
First, call our office to see if the bracket needs to be re-fitted. If you have a situation where you must cut the wire or slide a bracket off the wire, you may use fingernail clippers that have been washed and sterilized in alcohol. Please call our office the next business day to schedule a repair appointment.
Try putting the wire back in place using tweezers that have been washed and sterilized in alcohol. If that does not work, try putting wax over the wire where it is poking you. If you have a situation where you must cut the wire, you may use fingernail clippers that have been washed and sterilized in alcohol. Cut the wire behind the last bracket in which it is secured.
Headgear doesn't fit
If your headgear is causing pain, it's usually because it isn't being worn long enough. Please adhere to your orthodontist's instructions and wear your headgear for the instructed amount of hours each day. If the facebow is bent, please call our office for an appointment. Do not try to adjust it yourself.
What to do if you break or loosen any of your appliances
Call our office as soon as possible if you break or loosen any of your appliances. Please do not come directly to the office – by calling us, you will allow us to create a time to see you. Even if you have a regular appointment scheduled, call us immediately to notify us if you need an appliance repaired.
Loose brackets or bands
Call our office immediately for advice if a bracket or wire is loosened. The bracket may need to be re-fitted as soon as possible. You may have a situation that requires cutting a wire or sliding a bracket off a wire at night or over the weekend. If you need to cut a wire in case of emergency, you may use fingernail clippers that have been washed and sterilized in alcohol. Please call our office the next business day, so that we may schedule an appointment for you.
Discomfort with orthodontic treatment
During the first week after your braces are in place and routine adjustments are complete, you will likely feel some pain, soreness or discomfort. You may take acetaminophen or other non-aspirin pain relievers while you adjust to your new braces. A warm wash cloth or heating pad may reduce the soreness in your jaws.
Check out our Youtube videos to learn how to make repairs from home:
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