When the unexpected occurs, our team at Barrett Family Orthodontics is here to help. Though true orthodontic emergencies are rare, we are available to assist you when and if you need us. First and foremost, it’s important to call our office if you develop severe pain that persists. However, there are many issues that you can resolve on your own temporarily until you can schedule an appointment at our office. Once your discomfort is alleviated, it’s essential that you still call us to arrange a visit so we can assess and repair the problem.
General Soreness and Discomfort
It’s perfectly normal to experience some degree of soreness or tenderness once your braces are on. This is especially noticeable when biting down – and symptoms may last up to three to five days. Here are some tips and tricks to help alleviate this type of discomfort:
- Rinse your mouth with a warm saltwater solution a few times each day. Mix a teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of warm water, then swish. This will help soothe the oral soft tissues, reducing inflammation and discomfort.
- Use an over-the-counter analgesic to alleviate discomfort. Products such as Orabase®, Orajel®, and Anbesol® contain benzocaine, a topical anesthetic that can help reduce discomfort.
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers as needed. Acetaminophen is an excellent option, and should be taken as directed on the package.
- Eat soft foods for a few days. Until your comfort level improves, eat soft foods, such as ice cream, smoothies, pudding, yogurt, and applesauce.
In some instances, a bracket may become loose, or detach from the tooth. If the bracket is still connected to the archwire, leave it as is and cover it with orthodontic wax (which can be purchased in the oral health aisle). If the bracket is no longer attached to the archwire, save it and bring it with you to your next appointment.
If your archwire has come loose, try to slide it back into its proper position. If this cannot be done, try covering the loose wire with a piece of orthodontic wax until your appointment at our office.
Sometimes a wire can poke or irritate the lips, cheeks, or tongue. Should this occur, use a pencil eraser to gently push the wire down. If this is not feasible, place orthodontic wax on the area so it does not irritate the tissues further.
If a banded appliance or expander becomes loose, push it back into place and eat soft foods until you can visit our office. To avoid this problem, steer clear of chewy, sticky foods.
A Note About Headgear
Discomfort while wearing headgear typically means the appliance is not being worn frequently enough. To minimize soreness, wear the device exactly as instructed by your orthodontist.
Should the metal face-bow become broken or bent, call our office for assistance.