True orthodontic emergencies are rare. Most issues can be taken care of at home until you see us at your next scheduled appointment. As a general rule, you should call our office when you experience severe pain or have a painful appliance problem that you can’t take care of yourself.

Orthodontist fixing girl’s dental braces

Discomfort

Discomfort is normal, especially at the beginning of your treatment. Remember, we need to apply minimal pressure on your teeth to be able to move them. You may feel soreness in your mouth, and your teeth may be sensitive to pressure until your teeth adapt to the new level of pressure applied.

Discomfort usually starts 6 hours following your appointment and lasts up to 10 days. If the tenderness is severe, take Acetaminophen (Tylenol).

Aspirin, Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and Naproxen Sodium (Naprosyn, Anaprox) slow the tooth movement. We advise not to use them frequently while wearing braces.

Prolonged and localized discomfort might be caused by a cavity. Your family dentist will take care of your restorative needs.

Pokey Wire

If you pay attention to the wire placed on your braces you will see it’s becoming straighter week by week. Where do you think the excess wire goes? It will extend behind the last braces where it may start to poke you. You can manage that excess wire by placing wax on it so it is no longer poking, use a pencil eraser to bend the poking wire toward your gum and away from your cheek, or use a small and clean fingernail clipper and cut the poking part.

Pokey Wire

Pokey Wire – Eraser Trick

Broken Or Bent Wire

If you aren’t experiencing any discomfort or pain, there’s no need to take any action. If we asked you to wear elastics or rubber bands along with your braces, please stop using them until your next visit. If the wire end is sharp, please read the section about the pokey wire.

Loose Braces

Keep the broken piece and bring it to us on your next visit. Depending on the stage of your treatment, we may or may not replace it at your next visit.

Loose braces are more common at the beginning of the treatment. Lower braces break more often than upper braces, and most broken braces are at lower last molars. Breakage is more frequent on porcelain crowns or veneers than enamel. The following video shows how we will replace your braces

Food to Avoid in Braces

Sore Spots

Refer to the pokey wire section to learn about how to manage the source of irritation. 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.

Placing Orajel on the affected area may also help relieve discomfort. Orajel is over the counter and can be found in a pharmacy.

Missing Colored O-Rings

Missing colored rings around one or two braces is not a big deal. If the wire is still in its place inside the braces you can either leave it as is or tie it with a piece of floss. If the wire is out of its place, use a pair of tweezers or needle-nosed pliers to try to put your wire back into place.

Swallowed Parts

If you swallow any part of one of your orthodontic appliances such as braces, rubber bands or colored O-rings, remain calm as it is relatively harmless. It will usually go into your stomach and more than likely pass through your bowel system.

If you want to make sure it’s out of your body, you need to consult with your medical doctor. They will take x-rays to determine the location of the swallowed piece.

Bleeding

Bleeding of gums indicates that the gums are swollen, more than likely due to poor oral hygiene. You must make an appointment with your family dentist for regular cleaning. As a general rule, we recommend regular visits and routine cleaning every 3 months while in braces. 

If the bleeding is due to a cut on the gums, tongue, or the inside of the cheek, then apply pressure to the bleeding site for several minutes. If the bleeding does not stop, place a breakfast tea bag on the site and apply mild pressure. The caffeine in the tea will help stop the bleeding.

If the bleeding still persists, consult your family dentist.

Severe External Trauma

If the impact is severe you may feel your affected teeth are loose. Call our office or your family dentist as soon as possible. Usually, an initial assessment is done by your family dentist who will inform you about your next step. You may have additional fractures in the jaw that will also require an evaluation by an oral surgeon.

Broken Or Misplaced Retainers

Schedule an appointment as soon as possible as we may need to either repair or remake it.

Locked Jaw

This is mostly related to TMJ disorders, Tetanus, or Trismus. Consult an oral surgeon, TMJ specialist or emergency physician for a proper diagnosis and necessary treatment.