Anyone who has undergone orthodontic treatment knows it takes getting used to. Fitting appliances, moving teeth into new positions – all this activity can lead to aching and soreness.
Fortunately, orthodontic emergencies are rare. But if you feel you have suffered injury, try to determine the severity of the problem: Is the situation a minor problem that you can address temporarily? Or is it urgent, requiring immediate attention?
If you’re not sure, consider the following information.
The following situations constitute orthodontic emergencies:
Severe trauma or injury to the teeth, mouth, or face
Sudden swelling or indication of infection of the oral area
Intense, unmanageable pain in the facial or oral area
If you are experiencing any of the foregoing, seek immediate help. Your best option may be going directly to the emergency room. But if you feel that calling our office is a better place to start, and it is during normal working hours, feel free to do so. We will take some information that will help us to prepare for your emergency visit.
Although your problem may not be as severe as the ones just mentioned, no doubt they still cause discomfort or irritation. Please call us and we’ll set up an appointment as soon as possible. In the meantime, the following information will help you determine the source of the problem, and some tips to help manage it until you can see the doctor.
Loose or broken brackets, bands, or wires:
Eating hard or sticky candy or foods may cause this extremely irritating problem. Try your best to leave the band or bracket alone, as long as it is still attached. If it is causing irritation, cover it with orthodontic wax. If the band or bracket has come off completely, locate it and keep it in a safe place.
Before doing anything else, call us and we can advise you of the next steps.
Missing or poking archwire, bracket or tie:
As the teeth begin moving into place, the archwire (the wire connecting the teeth) may start irritating your cheeks or the back of your mouth. Try using a Q-Tip or pencil eraser to move the wire into a different position.
If this doesn’t work, try to carefully guide the offending piece with a pair of tweezers.
As with the previous problem, orthodontic wax can provide temporary relief. Make sure to call us for further instructions.
General pain or loosening:
It’s normal to experience some discomfort for a few days after braces are applied or adjusted. It’s helpful to remember that the purpose of orthodontic treatment is to move the teeth. So it’s normal for your teeth to experience a slight “loosening” feeling.
You might try eating soft foods for the initial few days. You can use over-the-counter pain medication like acetaminophen or ibuprofen to relieve soreness. Rinsing your mouth with a mild salt water solution and placing a warm washcloth or heating pad outside the jaw may provide additional relief.
At the Yuba City Dentistry Group, we want your orthodontic treatment to be as pain-free as possible. Feel free to call us if you have any additional questions.