Have an Orthodontic Emergency?
Your comfort is our priority, so we want to equip you all the information you need during treatment. Orthodontic emergencies are usually quite rare and very specific. While discomfort during treatment may feel like an emergency, it is actually quite common. All appliances — like braces, elastics, archwires, brackets, aligners, and palatal expanders — will cause some discomfort when first installed or adjusted. Emergencies happen when appliances break, separate, or cause pain and persistent irritation.
If you are experiencing extreme pain or abnormal symptoms verging on a medical emergency, please call 911. Otherwise, please contact our office as soon as possible and we will schedule an emergency appointment for you. For general discomfort or a broken appliance, please call our contact line within normal business hours for help. We ask that you refrain from coming to the office directly without an appointment.
Loose Wires or Brackets
Call our office during business hours for help if a bracket or wire has loosened or broken entirely. The bracket may need to be re-bonded. You may have a situation that requires cutting a wire or replacing a bracket.
Fixing Wire Irritations
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. Please contact our office before undergoing these procedures and we will schedule an appointment to help you further.
Separators are typically small rubber rings that fit in between spaced out teeth, usually on the back molars to provide additional support. It can be easy to lose a separator during treatment. Call our office during business hours if you lose a separator.
Discomfort During Orthodontic Treatment
During the first week after your braces are in place and routine adjustments are complete, you will likely feel minor pain or soreness. You can take acetaminophen or other non-aspirin pain relievers while you adjust to your new braces. A warm washcloth or heating pad may reduce the soreness in your jaws, as well.
Please call us or send us a message if your discomfort persists for more than 10 days.
Other Non-Emergency Issues
Brushing and Flossing
Flossing or brushing with appliances can cause issues, but nothing that should constitute an emergency. Follow our Brushing and Flossing Guide and work to get food and plaque off your teeth in between the gaps of your appliances. If food gets lodged in your appliances that can’t be removed or causes your appliances to break, please reach out to us right away.
Food Stuck in Braces
Hard, sticky and chewy foods can get stuck in your appliances or break them. If you are unable to brush and wash out foods or feel as though your appliance has been damaged, please contact us. Otherwise, see our Foods to Avoid Webpage to help prevent any issues.
Loss of Self-Esteem and Confidence
We think of “metal mouth” as a compliment, but we understand that going through treatment can be uncomfortable and jarring to your sense of self. Please understand that any aesthetic changes caused by treatment are temporary. It takes a relatively short amount of time for treatment to give you lifelong results. If appliances are hurting your confidence, don’t consider it an emergency. But talk to us about what we can do to help.
It is imperative to replace lost aligners. Not replacing them can change the course of your treatment. But if you’ve lost your aligners, it is likely not an emergency situation. Simply speak with us about getting new ones. You can also purchase our Retainer Insurance which can help give you a peace of mind!