Since we can’t be open 24 hours a day, it’s important to us to teach our Just for Grins Orthodontics patients how to handle minor orthodontic emergencies at home. Sometimes problems such as a loose bracket, poking wire, or tooth soreness will occur on off-hours, and we don’t want you to be uncomfortable for any longer than necessary. It’s a good idea to have a basic plan and tools at your disposal to handle these problems. If you cannot resolve the problem on your own or further assistance is needed, call us as soon as possible so we can schedule a repair appointment.
Poking or Broken Wire
A broken wire on traditional braces can be very irritating to the soft tissues of the cheek and gums. Our advice is that if the wire can be removed easily, then do it. If a wire slips out of its tube, replace the wire in the tube or under the tube hook with tweezers. If it still pokes, try to slide it over with your finger or put wax on it until we can see you in the office. The soft wax will ease the discomfort as does a warm salt water rinse.
If you have a broken or loose bracket, call our office on the next business day to schedule an appointment to repair it. If the bracket is attached to the wire, leave it in place and cover it with wax as needed for comfort. If the bracket comes out of place completely, bring it with you to your next appointment. You can avoid connecting elastics to loose braces.
Soreness will occur on and off during orthodontic treatment, especially when appliances are first put on, or after adjustments. Tylenol or Advil will help with the pain. Our advice is to try to stick to softer foods during times of discomfort or after visits where adjustments are made.
In the case of any trauma to the teeth, use ice immediately to reduce swelling. If the teeth are displaced and don’t fit together properly, soft tissue is stuck in the braces, or arch wires are bent, call our office immediately. If our office is closed, our voicemail will give you the number to our emergency line. Please leave a message and someone will call you back within the hour.
Loosening of teeth is common, as they must loosen before they can move into their planned positions. They will tighten following appliance removal.
One of the most important times in orthodontics is called the retention phase. This is where the patient gets a custom fit retainer to make sure their teeth remain aligned after the time with braces or Invisalign are completed. Typically retainers are worn in the evening, and this is important. Do not let too much time pass without your retainer. We ask that you call our office as soon as you lose your retainers to schedule an appointment.
While actual orthodontic emergencies are rare, it is our goal is to make orthodontic treatment as comfortable as possible. Dr. Alex Schreiber suggests, “If you call during non-business hours, please leave a message and we will return your call as soon as we’re open to schedule a repair appointment. Know that if immediate care is needed, we will be available through a contact number on our voicemail.”