There are very few true orthodontic emergencies, listed below are the most common types that may occur. You might be surprised to learn that you may be able to temporarily solve many problems yourself until you can schedule an appointment with our office.

General Soreness:

When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. This condition can be relieved by using a warm, saltwater rinse. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in 8 ounces of warm water, and rinse your mouth vigorously. Placing Orabase on the affected area also may help; this can be found in a pharmacy. If the tenderness is severe, take Tylenol or Advil or whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain. Chewing sugarless gum can also alleviate some of the soreness. The lips, cheeks and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can put wax on the braces to lessen this.

Poking Wire:

Using a pencil eraser, push the poking wire down or place wax on it to alleviate the discomfort. If possible, sterilize a pair of nail clippers with alcohol and clip the wire closest to the last bracket. If you are still having trouble, please call the office to schedule an appointment.

Loose Bracket:

If the bracket is not irritating the patient please call our office to schedule an appointment to replace the bracket if needed. Should the bracket cause any spot discomfort you may attempt to clip the wire with a pair of sterilized nail clippers. If that is not possible place wax over the bracket and call our office to schedule an appointment.

Loose Wire:

Using sterilized tweezers, try to put your wire back into place. If doing this and using wax doesn’t help, as a last resort use a small sterilized finger nail clipper to clip the wire behind the last tooth to which it is securely fastened. If your discomfort continues, place wax on it.

Separator Falls Out:

Call our office to schedule an appointment to replace the separator. This is not an emergency, but will need to be replaced at your earliest convenience.

Loose Appliance:

If your appliance is poking you, place wax on the offending part of your appliance, and call our office to schedule an appointment.

Palatal Expander:

The palatal expander “expands” (or widens) your upper jaw by putting gentle pressure on your upper molars each time an adjustment is made. The following steps below will instruct you about when and how to adjust your expander. When you achieve the desired expansion, you will wear the appliance for several months to solidify the expansion and to prevent regression.

Step 1

In a well-lit area, tip the patient’s head back.

Step 2

Place the key in the hole until it is firmly in place.

Step 3

Pushing the key toward the back of the mouth, you will notice.

Step 4

By pushing back and down toward the tongue, remove the key.The next hole for insertion of the key should now be visible.

When working with your appliances, you need to know the names of the parts of your appliances so you are able to identify what part is broken or out of place. After alleviating your discomfort, it is very important that you still call our office as soon as possible 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.