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.
Patients are encouraged to contact our office during working hours for all emergencies. Emergencies seen during office hours are given the next available appointment. We ask that patients with scheduled appointments call ahead of time if they have a loose bracket so that we can set-up the adjustment appointment properly. For more serious emergencies, which require immediate attention, we have a clinical staff on-call, who can be reached through the after-hours emergency number given on our answering machine.
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.
Call the office to schedule an appointment to repair the bracket. If the bracket is attached to the wire, leave it in place and cover it with wax as needed for comfort. If the bracket comes out completely, bring it with you to your next appointment. Avoid connecting elastics or a headgear appliance to any loose brackets.
Broken or Poking Wire
If a broken wire can be removed easily, remove the broken piece. If a wire slips out of its tube, replace the wire in the tube or under the tube hook with tweezers. If the wire still pokes, try to slide it over with your finger or put wax on it until we can see you in the office.
Soreness will occur off and on during orthodontic treatment. Tylenol or Ibuprofen will help. Also, try to stick to softer foods during this time.
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.
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.
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.
Padraig Dennehy D.M.D. is a fourth generation Montanan, having been born and raised in Butte, MT...
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