Emergency Care vs. Normal Discomfort
There are seldom any orthodontic emergencies that require immediate care. Most orthodontic problems can be fixed at home until a scheduled appointment can be arranged. If you cannot make your braces comfortable before your next appointment, you should call our office during business hours to schedule an immediate appointment. If you have a true orthodontic emergency needing immediate care, please leave a message at 314-821-1101 and your call will be returned in a timely manner.
Most direct injuries to your mouth or teeth, whether undergoing orthodontic treatment or not, should first be seen by your primary care dentist, as soon as possible. If a tooth has been knocked out, severely displaced or fractured, your family dentist will have the necessary materials needed to treat these injuries. If you have sustained serious injury and feel that your emergency is life-threatening you should call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.
Here are some guidelines to help you understand and handle the difference between an orthodontic emergency and a minor issue.
General Soreness from Braces
Especially after monthly adjustments, some soreness or small abrasions in the mouth are normal. Rinsing with a saltwater solution comprised of eight ounces of warm water and one teaspoon of salt may help with the discomfort. Orthodontic wax can be used to cover the appliance in contact with the abrasion to help with the healing process.
Due to normal usage, shifting of the appliances may occur. Eating unusually hard or sticky foods can cause or exacerbate this problem. If the excess wire is accessible to you, you may simply cut the excess wire with fingernail clippers at home. If the wire is in the back of the mouth, have the patient place a bead of the provided orthodontic wax in the area that is causing discomfort. After making the patient comfortable, please call our office to schedule an appointment. We will be happy to see you and make everything comfortable for you again.
When a bracket becomes detached from the tooth, it typically will remain on the arch wire. If the bracket comes off completely, we can reattach it at your next appointment. Sometimes the bracket can flip and become uncomfortable. If this occurs, you can flip the bracket back to its original position which will make a smooth surface again. If you are unable to flip the bracket back, please call our office. In either case, we will re-attach the bracket at the patient’s next scheduled appointment.
Lost/Broken Retainer or Appliance
Please contact our office if your retainer or appliance has become lost or broken. A new impression may be needed to make a new appliance. If you have a backup retainer, please wear this until you are able to come in for an appointment.
Should you have an orthodontic emergency after office hours, please call 314-821-1101 and follow the instructions to leave a message for the person on call.