Be Ready For Anything
True orthodontic emergencies are rare, but when they occur we are here for you.
As a general rule, you should call our Rogers office when you experience severe pain or have a painful appliance problem you can't take care of yourself.
We'll be able to schedule an appointment with Dr. Sarah to resolve the problem.
Here to Help Our Imagine Orthodontics Patients
You might be surprised to learn that you may be able to solve many problems yourself temporarily until you can get to our office.
The following orthodontic emergencies and their treatments are listed in the order from least severe to most severe.
This isn’t an emergency, but it can be uncomfortable or embarrassing. This can easily be fixed with a piece of dental floss.
Try tying a small knot in the middle of the floss to help remove the food. You could also use an interproximal brush or toothpick to dislodge food caught between your teeth and your braces.
Tiny rubber bands or small, fine wires, known as ligatures, hold the wire to the bracket. If a rubber ligature comes off, you may be able to put it back in place using sterile tweezers. If a wire ligature comes loose, remove it with sterile tweezers.
If your wire ligature is sticking out into the lip but is not loose, you can bend it back down with a Q-tip or pencil eraser so it doesn’t irritate your lip. Of course, when one ligature pops off or breaks, others may follow.
Be sure to examine all your ligatures. Missing or broken ligatures should be brought to the attention of Dr. Sarah or her team. If a rubber or wire ligature is lost, tell Dr. Sarah so she can advise whether you should be seen.
When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth, and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. Stick to a soft diet until your teeth do not hurt to chew.
Irritated gums and other sore spots can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a warm salt-water mouthwash. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in eight ounces of warm water, and rinse your mouth vigorously.
If the tenderness is severe, take Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain. Aspirin, Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and Naproxen Sodium (Naprosyn, Anaprox) actually slow the tooth movement, so it is not advisable to use them frequently while wearing braces.
The lips, cheeks, and tongue may become irritated for one to two weeks as they learn a new posture and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can put wax on the braces to lessen this. We'll show you how!
You may be susceptible to mouth sores. While your braces don’t cause them, they may be worse due to irritation from your braces.
One or several patches of sores may appear on the cheeks, lips or tongue. This is not an emergency, but it may be very uncomfortable.
Get quick relief by applying a small amount of topical anesthetic (such as Orabase or Ora-Gel) directly to the area with sores using a cotton swab.
You can reapply as needed.
Sometimes new braces can irritate your mouth, especially when you're eating. A small amount of non-medicinal relief wax makes an excellent buffer between the metal and your mouth.
Simply pinch off a small piece and roll it into a ball the size of a small pea. Flatten the ball and place it completely over the area of the braces causing irritation.
Then, you can eat more comfortably. If you accidentally swallow the wax, it’s not a problem. The wax is harmless.
Sometimes discomfort is caused by not wearing your headgear as instructed by Dr. Sarah. Please refer to the instructions provided by Imagine Orthodontics.
If the facebow (metal piece) is bent, please call our Rogers office for assistance. Your headgear should hurt less the more it's worn, so be sure you get in the prescribed number of hours.
Occasionally, the end of a wire will work itself out of place and irritate your mouth. Using a pencil eraser, push the poking wire down or place wax on it so that it is no longer poking.
If the wire cannot be moved into a comfortable position, cover it with relief wax. (See Irritated of Lips or Cheeks above for instructions on applying relief wax.)
You'll need to make Dr. Sarah aware of the problem before your next appointment.
As your teeth begin to shift, it isn’t uncommon for your orthodontic appliance to loosen or for your headgear to not fit as it once did. While a loose appliance can be a nuisance, you can be somewhat positive in knowing that your teeth are getting straighter!
Since appliances need to fit snuggly in order to do their job, you’ll want to seek orthodontic care to have your appliance adjusted.
If your bracket or band is still attached to the wire, you should leave it in place and put wax on it if needed for comfort. If the bracket or band can be removed easily, place it in an envelope and save it to bring to your next appointment.
Using a pair of tweezers or needle-nosed pliers, try to put your wire back into place. It is okay to use a piece of floss to tie the wire into place: tie the floss around the bracket in place of the missing colored o-ring.
If you cannot put the wire into a comfortable position, and covering the end with wax doesn't help, as a last resort use a small fingernail clipper to clip the wire behind the last tooth to which it is securely fastened. If the end of the wire is still sharp place wax on it.
This is rare, but when it does happen, it can be alarming. It’s important to stay calm.
If you're coughing excessively or having difficulty breathing, you may have inhaled the piece into your airways or lungs.
If you can see the piece, you may carefully attempt to remove it.
Do NOT try this if you fear it could cause harm.
If appropriate, under the circumstances, examine your braces for problems that may result from the missing piece, such as looseness or irritation, and treat as specified above.
If you can’t see the piece and believe you may have inhaled it, call Dr. Sarah immediately.