True orthodontic emergencies are rare, but when they do occur we are available to help you. As a general rule you should call our office if you experience major discomfort or when you have an uncomfortable appliance problem that you can't take care of yourself. We'll schedule an appointment to resolve the problem.
You (yes, you!) may be able to temporarily solve many problems yourself before we see you. When working with your appliances, you need to know the names of the parts of your appliances so you can identify what part is broken or out of place (check the Parts of Braces & Aligners page). Even if you are able to reduce your discomfort, it is still very important that you call us the next business day to schedule a time to repair the problem. Allowing your appliance to remain damaged for an extended period of time may result in disruptions and delay to your treatment plan.
When you first get your braces, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and your teeth may be tender to biting pressures for 3 to 5 days. This can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a warm saltwater mouthwash. Dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water, and rinse your mouth vigorously before spitting the saltwater into the sink. Placing Orabase on the affected area may help too; this product is available from a pharmacy. If the tenderness is severe, take aspirin or whatever you normally take for a headache or similar pain.
Your lips, cheeks and tongue may also become irritated for 1 or 2 weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can put wax on your braces to lessen this irritation. We'll show you how!
Loose or Broken Bracket
If your bracket or band is still attached to the wire, you should leave it in place and put wax on it. If the wire comes out entirely, wrap the bracket with a tissue.
Loose and Poking Wires
For a loose wire, use tweezers to try to put your wire back into place. If doing this and using wax doesn't help, as a last resort use a small fingernail clipper to clip the wire behind the last tooth to which it is securely fastened. If your discomfort continues, place wax on it.
For a poking wire, use the eraser end of a pencil to carefully and gently push the poking wire down, or place wax on it to alleviate the discomfort.
Broken Aligner Attachment
It is rare for an aligner attachment to break. If this happens, however, it is important to have it replaced right away to keep your aligners fitting and working properly, and ensure that your treatment stays on track. Contact our office by phone or email the next business day and we will schedule an appointment to replace the broken attachment.
If you Lose an Aligner
If you lose an aligner it is important to contact us the next business day. We may need to see you to order a replacement aligner or, depending on how far along you are in your wear cycle for that aligner, we may recommend that you proceed to the next aligner in your series. Either way, here is what to do before you see us:
If you are less than halfway through your current wear cycle go back to wearing the previous aligner in your series.
If you are more than halfway through your current wear cycle move ahead to wearing the next aligner in your series. Once you reach us we will confirm what is necessary to keep your treatment on track and on time!
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