Emergency Care

Common Orthodontics Emergencies & Treatment

Soreness, tenderness and wire irritation are common side effects for braces. While many orthodontic emergencies can be remedied at home, some do require in-office care. This information will help you learn more about different orthodontic emergencies, as well as how you can best resolve common minor emergencies at home.

What to Know About Orthodontics Emergency Care

If you are wearing traditional braces, the wires will be tightened at each visit. This tightening increases pressure on the teeth and is essential to bring the teeth into proper alignment and correcting bite irregularities. After wires are tightened, it is common to experience tenderness, soreness and pain. An over-the-counter, non-aspirin pain reliever such as acetaminophen is a safe choice for relieving this pain. If you are experiencing soreness in your jaws, a warm washcloth, heating pad, and a salt-water rinse are all effective pain management options.

Minor Orthodontic Emergency? Here are a Couple of Videos that Might Help.

After wires are tightened, some patients may also experience wire irritation. If the irritation is mild, it may be possible to “move” the wire away from the irritated area with either a cotton swab or an eraser. If you are unable to move the wire, try covering it with a small piece of wax and contact our orthodontics team. We will arrange a same-day appointment to correct the wire irritation. If the pain is severe and you need an immediate solution, you may be able to cut off the offending wire with nail clippers or scissors. Before using either of these tools, be sure to first sterilize them in rubbing alcohol.

While rare, a bracket may come loose and need to be refitted. If this occurs and you require immediate care, you will need to cut the wire or slide a bracket off the wire. Nail clippers or small scissors may be useful for moving the wire and bracket; be sure to first sterilize these tools. Typically, a loose bracket will need to be refitted. Depending on the time of day when this orthodontics emergency occurs, our practice will try to accommodate patients for same-day or next-day urgent care.

If we need to create space between your teeth, we may place a separator in during treatment. Sometimes, eating or drinking may cause a separator to come out. If you lose a separator, contact our orthodontics practice to find out if this separator needs to be replaced. Depending on the length of your treatment and prognosis, a lost separator may not need to be replaced.

Many common orthodontics emergencies occur when eating certain foods, such as biting into fruit, chewing on ice, or cracking nuts. To reduce your risk for orthodontics emergencies, talk to our orthodontist about which foods are safe for you to eat during treatment.

Our goal is to provide patients with the highest quality care. Should you have questions about orthodontic treatments, what to expect while wearing braces, or are worried that you are experiencing an orthodontic emergency, please contact our practice. We are happy to answer any questions and provide immediate urgent care, if necessary.

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