What to do in case of emergency
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.
Sometimes discomfort caused by a wire on your braces can be resolved by 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. If you cannot resolve the wire irritation, call our office for an appointment.
Most patients lose a separator during their treatment. Do not worry about losing a separator, but call our office to see if it needs to be replaced.
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.
- If the main wire has come out of the brace or tube on a back molar tooth, attempt to reinsert the wire with a pair of needle nosed pliers or tweezers. If the wire is not sticking you, place a piece of wax over the area. If the wire is sticking you and wax does not help, the wire can be cut with a small wire cutter or nail clipper close to the back of the last brace. This is a last resort if professional help is unavailable.
- If a brace comes loose from a tooth, it usually remains connected to the main wire with one of the colored a-ties and is not cause for an emergency visit. Tweezers can be used to reposition the brace if it flips around the wire and becomes a source of irritation. Call our office at your earliest convenience. It may be necessary to schedule a separate visit to repair the loose brace(s), since repairs of this nature usually take additional time. Sometimes this brace will be repaired when more braces are being applied. This will help to avoid missing school or other important events too frequently.
- If your teeth become sore after a visit, we generally recommend that you take an analgesic such as acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol) or ibuprofen (e.g., Advil, Motrin). This, of course, is the protocol only if there are no known allergies to these medications. Rinsing with diluted hydrogen peroxide or a cup of warm water and teaspoon of salt can also be soothing.
- If a part of your braces or your retainer breaks, save the piece and call to set up a repair visit.
- If you notice some small spaces developing between your teeth while you have braces on, don't panic! This is usually normal and expected as teeth move into different positions, particularly in the early stages of treatment. Most often it is the result of a broader smile being created. These spaces will be closed eventually.
- If a rubber separator falls out, you can try to replace it yourself by threading a couple pieces of floss through it and then pulling it under and up between the teeth. Then remove the floss. Call the office to see if notations were made to indicate that it is necessary to be replaced.
- If you experience any bleeding when brushing or flossing, that usually means there is a local area of infection. Continue to keep the area clean by brushing, flossing and rinsing with Listerine. If a particular area is painful or you notice a bump of any sort, you should address this to your orthodontist as soon as possible.
- If food becomes stuck between your teeth, use dental floss or a proxy brush to dislodge the food.
- We are always available for orthodontic emergencies. If you have an emergency, please call us immediately so that we may schedule an appointment as soon as possible.