Orthodontic Emergencies

Orthodontic and braces emergencies

Although there are very few true orthodontic emergencies, you may notice during the course of treatment that you have loose or broken brackets or that the orthodontic wires have shifted and are irritating your lips or cheeks. Call our office as soon as possible if you break or loosen any of your appliances. Please do not come directly to the office – by calling us, you will allow us to create a time to see you. Even if you have a regular appointment scheduled, call us immediately to notify us if you need an appliance repaired.

Below is a list of common problems and how they may be remedied at home. If you have a problem that you cannot resolve on your own, please call our office. Our orthodontic team will be able to give you advice on how to solve the problem yourself or schedule you the appropriate appointment so that the problem can be fixed.

Loose bracket or band

Call our office immediately for advice if a bracket or wire is loosened. The bracket may need to be re-fitted as soon as possible. You may have a situation that requires cutting a wire or sliding a bracket off a wire at night or over the weekend. If you need to cut a wire in case of emergency, you may use fingernail clippers that have been washed and sterilized in alcohol. Please call our office the next business day, so that we may schedule an appointment for you.

Broken or poking wire

Sometimes discomfort caused by a wire on your braces can be resolved by moving the wire away from the irritated area with a cotton swab or eraser. If the wire will not move, try covering the end of it with a small piece of cotton or a small amount of wax. If the wire is painful, you can cut it with nail clippers or scissors that have been washed and sterilized in alcohol. If you cannot resolve the wire irritation, call our office for an appointment.

Lost separators

Most patients lose a separator during their treatment. Do not worry about losing a separator, but call our office to see if it needs to be replaced.

Tooth soreness

Soreness will occur off and on during orthodontic treatment. Tylenol or Ibuprofen will help. Also, try to stick to softer foods during this time.

Traumatic accidents

Use ice immediately to reduce swelling. If the teeth are displaced and don't fit together properly, arch wires are bent, or soft tissue is stuck in the braces, call our office to schedule an appointment immediately.

Loose teeth

Loosening is common, as teeth must loosen before they can move. They will tighten following appliance removal. Extremely loose teeth as a result of trauma or some other factor should be brought to the doctor’s attention immediately.

Irritated cheeks, lips, or tongue

Brackets may irritate soft tissues initially until the tissue toughens (as hands callous). Soft wax will ease the discomfort as does a warm salt water rinse.

Discomfort with orthodontic treatment

During the first week after your braces are in place and routine adjustments are complete, you will likely feel some pain, soreness or discomfort. You may take acetaminophen or other non-aspirin pain relievers while you adjust to your new braces. A warm wash cloth or heating pad may reduce the soreness in your jaws.

Lost Retainers

Please call our office as soon as you lose your retainers as even short periods without proper retainer wear may result in undesired tooth movement.

Dr. Jeff Stanley - Orthodontist in Fresno, CA and Clovis, CA

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