It is common for patients to complain of tooth tenderness for a day or more after an orthodontic appointment. Usually these symptoms are managed easily by the patient through the temporary use of an over-the counter analgesic such as ibuprofen, Tylenol, or Aleve. If discomfort persists, please contact our office.
Occasionally, some patients will experience an injury to the mouth during treatment. Dental emergencies while wearing braces or other orthodontic appliances generally fall into two categories.
EMERGENCIES RELATED TO ORTHODONTIC APPLIANCES
Sometimes, appliances might be broken or bent during your orthodontic care. If there are any disturbances, such as loose bands, loose brackets, broken or poking wires, please call our office for an appointment during patient hours. For your convenience and the convenience of scheduled patients, it is not possible to handle emergencies on a walk in basis. In the meantime, here are some helpful hints to remedy some of the problems you may encounter until our office can see you.
- If a tie wire is irritating your mouth, cover it with wax or tuck it under the arch wire with a blunt object like a pencil eraser or Q-tip.
- A loose band or bracket can generally be left in place until seen in our office. Contact us during patient hours when you notice a loose band or bracket. We will usually schedule you that same week to reattach the loose appliance, if indicated.
- A broken or poking archwire can often be bent in with a pencil eraser or cut with nail clippers. Call our office, during patient hours, if you do not feel the problem has been resolved properly.
- Watch this video that explains how to handle an orthodontic emergency.
DIRECT INJURIES TO THE MOUTH AND TEETH
Following a direct injury to your mouth or teeth, whether undergoing orthodontic care or not, immediately ice the injured area and you should contact your regular dentist as soon as possible. Usually an x-ray of the involved tooth or teeth is needed to determine the extent of injury. If a tooth has been displaced, knocked out, or fractured, it is best to contact your family dentist first, since we may not have the necessary materials or anesthesia required to treat these injuries. If the appliances are dislodged or displaced, we will need to replace or adjust the appliances as soon as possible, after you have seen your general dentist, depending upon the comfort level of the patient.
Emergencies After Office Hours
If an orthodontic emergency arises where the patient is in pain after hours, please contact our office. Information is available regarding who to contact for further assistance.