What to Do in Case of Emergency
A true orthodontic emergency is extremely rare. However, there are minor problems that can occur during your treatment. If you do have an issue, such as a broken or loose appliance, call us at (919) 403-0790 (Raleigh Office), (919) 518-2644 (Durham Office) or (919) 852-0009 (Cary Office). Even if you have a regular appointment scheduled, it’s still important to call and notify us so that we can give you advice or schedule you for an orthodontic emergency repair appointment to keep your treatment on track. Thankfully, many issues can be handled at home, at least until you’re able to come in for a visit.
Loose or Broken Braces Brackets or Bands
Call our office right away if a bracket or wire is loosened. We may need to refit the bracket. If any piece of your appliance comes off, be sure to bring it with you to your appointment.
If the bracket comes off completely in the back of your mouth, you can gently slide it off the wire, being very careful not to swallow it. If you have a long piece of wire leftover that’s poking you, or your wire is loose, you can temporarily fix the problem by gently pushing the wire out of the way using a cotton swab or the eraser end of a new pencil. You can also try covering it in orthodontic relief wax. Break off a small piece of wax, roll it in between your fingers to warm it up and place it on the wire. If those tactics don’t work, you can very carefully clip the excess wire using nail clippers that have been washed and sterilized in alcohol, if necessary.
For a bracket towards the middle of your mouth that is loose or broken, gently slide the bracket back into place. Cover the bracket with wax if you need to and then give us a call.
Have no fear if you lose a separator because it happens to a lot of patients during their treatment. Give us a call and we’ll let you know if it needs to be replaced.
Irritation From Braces or Appliances
It’s pretty common for your braces to irritate your lips, cheeks and tongue when you first start treatment. This will go away once you acclimate to your braces and the soft tissues of your mouth “toughen up.” You can try swishing with a saltwater rinse for a few minutes and spitting it out (one teaspoon of salt dissolved in a glass of lukewarm water). Placing orthodontic relief wax over the parts of your braces that are bothering you can also be helpful. If you need more wax, please let the VanderWall Orthodontics team know and we’ll give you some.
Poking Braces Wires
For a poking braces wire or wire irritations, you can try to gently push the wire out of the way using a cotton swab or the eraser end of a new pencil. If you can’t move the wire, warm a small piece of orthodontic relief wax between your fingers and place it on the area that’s bothering you. If the wire is really long and bothersome, again, you can very carefully cut the excess wire using nail clippers or scissors that have been washed and sterilized in alcohol. If you’re unable to resolve the wire irritation, call our office and we’ll get you in for an appointment to fix the problem.
Discomfort During Orthodontic Treatment
You should never feel severe braces pain and if you do, call us right away. However, during the first week with braces and following routine adjustments, you can have some soreness and discomfort. We promise, this is perfectly normal and your mouth will not be sore forever! To relieve discomfort, dissolve one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of lukewarm water. Swish and gargle the solution in your mouth for a couple of minutes before spitting it out (don’t swallow the saltwater).
General soreness from braces can also be managed by taking acetaminophen or other non-aspirin pain relievers. A warm washcloth or heating pad can help reduce discomfort in your jaw too.
It might come as a surprise but if your teeth begin feeling loose during treatment, it’s actually completely normal and not an orthodontic emergency at all! The pressure from your braces or Invisalign stimulates a natural process called bone remodeling. This causes your teeth to loosen so that they can move into the right position. Once the teeth are in their correct places, they’ll no longer feel loose.