True orthodontic emergencies are rare, but when they occur we are available to you. You might be surprised to learn that you may be able to solve many minor issues yourself, saving you a trip to the office. Please see some common solutions below. If you are in severe pain or have a problem you are unable to remedy on your own, please give our office a call and we can arrange an appointment. We have also included a list of helpful information to have on hand when you call so we can best assess your problem. Please keep in mind that we schedule repair appointments around our regular appointments and most last minute appointments are not able to be scheduled at the beginning or end of the day.
If your bracket or band is still attached to the wire, you should leave it in place and put wax on it if needed for comfort. If the bracket or band can be removed easily, place it in an envelope and save it to bring to your next appointment. A loose or broken bracket does not require immediate repair in the office and can usually wait until your next appointment. If the loose bracket is causing discomfort, please call the office. If you have more than one loose or broken brackets, please call the office to let us know so we can add additional time to your next appointment for repairs.
Using a pair of tweezers or needle-nosed pliers, try to put your wire back into place. It is okay to use a piece of floss to tie the wire into place: tie the floss around the bracket in place of the missing colored o-ring. If you cannot put the wire into a comfortable position, and covering the end with 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 the end of the wire is still sharp, place wax on it.
Poking wires are not uncommon during orthodontic treatment. As your teeth shift, the wire may start to poke out at the back of the braces. If you have a wire poking in the back of your mouth, you can clip it yourself using nail clippers. If the wire is poking on a side or in the front, use a pencil eraser to gently push the poking wire down or place wax on it so that it is no longer poking. If you have tried these remedies and the wire is still causing pain, please call our office.
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. Stick to a soft diet until your teeth do not hurt to chewing. Irritated gums and other sore spots can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a warm salt-water mouthwash. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in eight ounces of warm water, and rinse your mouth vigorously. An alternative (better tasting) mouthwash is the Healthy Gums Rinse by The Natural Dentist. Placing Orabase on the affected area may also help relieve discomfort; Orabase can be found in a pharmacy. If the tenderness is severe, take Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain. Aspirin, Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and Naproxen Sodium (Naprosyn, Anaprox) actually slow the tooth movement, so it is not advisable to use them frequently while wearing braces.
The lips, cheeks, and tongue may become irritated for one to two weeks as they learn a new posture and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can put wax on the braces to lessen this. We'll show you how!
Retainer or Invisalign tray discomfort
If your retainer is causing you discomfort, depending on the type of retainer, you may be able to fix it at home. If you have a clear Essix retainer and it is poking or rubbing your gums, you can file the sharp edge/spot with a nail file or small piece of sandpaper. You can try the same at home solution for Invisalign trays. If you have a wire retainer, please call our office if a wire is poking.
Information needed by our office to schedule a repair appointment:
If you have tried the recommended at home remedies and are still in discomfort or were unable to fix the issue, please call our office. We will need answers to the following questions to best determine how to fix the problem:
- What is the problem? Poking wire, loose bracket, broken appliance, etc.
- Where is the issue? Front or back teeth, top or bottom, etc. If you can count where the tooth is (e.g., "the 3rd from the back on the bottom left side"), that is extremely helpful.
- Level of discomfort
- If you are able to take a photo of the problem and email it to email@example.com, that is even more helpful!
*Please keep in mind that we can only schedule last minute repair appointments around regularly scheduled appointments and will have limited availability during peak hours.