Many orthodontic problems are not true emergencies. If you have a problem, you are always welcome to contact our office. In general, a true orthodontic emergency typically involves significant discomfort/pain along with an injury/trauma. In the case of a true emergency, you should contact our office right away so we can arrange to see you as soon as possible. If problem is not a true emergency, you might be surprised to learn that you may be able to temporarily solve it yourself. Many orthodontic “urgencies” are actually very easy to resolve at home.
The following list of orthodontic “urgencies” and their simple solutions to help you:
Place wax on the offending part of your appliance.
Use a pencil eraser or a pen cap to push the poking wire down/out of the way or place wax on it to alleviate the discomfort.
Missing Elastic Tie
If an elastic tie falls off, you should schedule an appointment to replace it at the earliest convenience; however it is important to realize this missing tie will probably not adversely affect your treatment if it waits until your next appointment.
If your bracket or band is still attached to the wire, you should leave it in place and put wax on it if needed. It will “wobble around” a bit, but this is generally not a concern. You should let the office know, and schedule an appointment to repair it at your next appointment or earliest convenience.
Loose/Disengaged WireUse tweezers to try to put the wire back into place. If not successful, place wax on it to help stabilize it and alleviate any poking or discomfort. You may also use a fingernail clipper or small wire cutter to clip the wire behind the last tooth to which it is securely fastened. Be sure to call our office for advice before attempting to cut the wire.
Headgear Does Not Fit
If your headgear no longer fits; it’s OK to stop wearing it temporarily. You will need to schedule an appointment to adjust it at the earliest convenience.
It is not unusual to experience some tenderness from orthodontic movement; especially after an adjustment. Traditional over-the-counter pain relievers such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®), or acetaminophen (Tylenol®) are very effective when used as directed. The lips, cheeks, and tongue may also become irritated after braces are placed. This irritation usually subsides within a couple of weeks as the oral tissues “toughen” and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can put wax on the braces or use topical anesthetics like Orajel® and Anbesol® to help you through this initial stage of treatment.
To learn more about orthodontic problems and solutions, go to the Patient Care Video area of the web site.
Please note that even if you successfully solve your problem, it is very important that you still contact our office to discuss your specific issue. In some cases, allowing your appliance to remain damaged for an extended period of time may result in a delay of treatment progress.
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