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Emergency Care

Orthodontic emergencies are rare.  Most circumstances such as a poking wire or a loose bracket may be irritating, but generally is not dangerous.  These issues can be temporarily relieved with wax and repaired at your next visit.  If however, you are experiencing severe pain or have an issue that you cannot resolve, please call our office so that we can schedule an appointment to take care of the problem.


Most issues that come up can be made comfortable at home!  



General soreness is very common especially in the first few days after braces are placed, or right after an orthodontic adjustment.  We recommend eating soft foods for a few days until the sensation subsides.  This reduces the pressure from chewing forces.


If the soreness is signficant, you can take an over-the-counter pain medication such as Ibuprofen (Advil) or Acetaminophen (Tylenol).  


Irritation and canker sores:

The braces/appliances can feel a little scratchy to your cheeks, lips, and tongue initially or at certain points during treatment.  Your soft tissue will 'toughen' and get used to your appliances, but if the irritation is really bothersome, you can place some wax on the braces to serve as a cushion.


If you develop a sore spot, you can use a saltwater rinse (1 teaspoon of salt mixed with 8 oz of warm water), or Peroxyl rinse (Colgate) to help heal the area faster.  


Mouth sores:

Some people are susceptible to mouth sores.  Braces don't tend to be the cause, but irritation from the braces can exacerbate or make them worse temporarily.  There can be ulceration of the cheeks, lips, or tongue.  While not an emergency, these sores can be rather uncomfortable and can last 10 days or so.  A small amount of Orabase or Oragel can be applied for relief.  


Loose bracket or band:

Brackets or molar bands can loosen and detach from the tooth surface with sticky or hard foods.  If still attached to the wire, please leave in place and place wax as needed for comfort.  If the bracket or band comes off the wire or can easily be detached from the wire, place in a zip lock bag or envelope and bring in at your next appointment.  


Loose wire:

If a wire has come out of position, you can use clean fingers, or a clean set of tweezers or pliers to try to put back into place.  If it is not possible to get the wire back into a comfortable position, you can take a pair of fingernail or toenail clipper and cut the wire behind the last tooth to which the wire is securely attached.  Place wax on any sharp areas.  


Pokey or long wire:

Sometimes a wire can slide to one side and feel pokey against your cheek.  If wax is not enough to achieve comfort, you can take a fingernail or toenail clipper and cut off the wire behind the last tooth to which the wire is securely attached.  


Pokey metal tie:

Sometimes we use steel ties to tie the wire securely around your braces.  These ends of these little metal ties can feel pokey if they stick out.  You can place wax for comfort, or use a pencil eraser to push the poking end down.


Loose expander or appliance:

If your expander or other appliance feels loose on one side, try to leave it alone, and please call us to re-cement it into place.  If it comes out completely, please keep the appliance safe, call us for an appointment, and bring it to the office.  


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