Orthodontic emergencies may not happen as often as dental emergencies, but when they do they can be incredibly painful and halt any progress you have made with your orthodontic placement. From snapped wires to broken brackets, these emergencies can cause a lot of discomfort for patients and definitely warrant a visit to the orthodontist! If an orthodontic appliance breaks or you are suffering from any pain, regardless of whether or not you have an upcoming appointment, give our office a call. The quicker we get you in, the faster you are back on track for a healthy, beautiful smile.
There may be some things you can do at home to help alleviate painful symptoms from an orthodontic emergency or make minor adjustments to your appliance. Here are some tips that may be useful while you wait to see an orthodontist.
How to Handle Orthodontic Emergencies
One of the most frequent orthodontic mishaps is a lost separator. We don’t really consider this an emergency, but a separator will need to be replaced. So take a deep breath, give us a call, and we can get you a new one if this gets misplaced or lost.
Sensitivity or Discomfort with Orthodontic Treatment
It is totally normal to feel a little discomfort immediately following an orthodontic placement or treatment. Just after your placement of traditional braces, your teeth and gums may feel sore. To help this pain, it is appropriate to take Tylenol and gargle with lukewarm salt water to help the sensitivity go down. A heating pad or cool compress can also help with any pain you feel after placement or an appliance adjustment.
Pain becomes an emergency if it is accompanied by a fever, any redness, bleeding, or discharge from the gums, severe pain that makes it difficult to concentrate, or pain that has not subsided after a week or more after placement or adjustment.
One of the main irritants of an orthodontic device is the wires. While these can be adjusted to eliminate discomfort, it can be trial and error to get them in the right placement. To help at home, you can move the wire away from the sensitive area with a cotton swab. Wires can be tough to adjust, so asking a parent to help is wise. You can also clip the end of the wire with nail clippers or scissors if the wire is causing a lot of pain or is causing any bleeding. Be sure to sterilize the clippers or scissors before use with hot water and alcohol.
Brackets get loose often, so the first step is to call our office to see if you need an adjustment. As teeth move, brackets can need to be re-fit to continue to progress with your treatment. In some cases, you may need to clip the wire and slide the bracket off. Again, you can use a nail clipper that has been sterilized to do this if you cannot get into our office right away.
Just like with brackets, wires can also become loose as your teeth move. If a wire is getting loose and causing discomfort, you can try to put the wire back in place with clean tweezers. If the wire becomes bothersome, you can try capping it with a small bit of wax where it is poking you.
Headgear Doesn’t Fit
Headgear can be very finicky. When patients are first fitted for their headgear, it can be very uncomfortable. The longer a patient wears their headgear, the less discomfort they will feel. Of course, it is important to discuss your comfort level with the orthodontist so they can adjust it as needed. It is essential to wear your orthodontic devices as instructed. Headgear should not be adjusted by yourself or at home, so please call our office right away if you think it needs to be tighter or refit.
Don’t Suffer from an Orthodontic Emergency
With our caring team and flexible schedule, there is never a reason to suffer from orthodontic discomfort. Call our team at Pristera Orthodontics right away if you experience any of the things mentioned above or any pain/discomfort associated with your orthodontic appliance. If pain is ever accompanied by a sudden fever, you need to be seen right away. Call today or schedule an appointment in our Renton or Burien, WA office.