Emergency Care

Although true orthodontic emergencies are rare, below are some tips on handling these situations.  Of course, you may call our office to assist you if these tips do not help.

General Soreness

It is common for you to feel sore a couple of days after your braces or retainers have been adjusted.  Remember, this is temporary and very normal.  To help with the soreness, rinse your mouth with warm salt water.  If you are allowed to take over-the-counter pain medicine, take what is normally given for pain.  Eating cool soft foods will be much easier on your mouth.

Mouth Sores

Mouth sores do happen and for some patients are more common than with other patients.  These sores can appear inside the cheeks, on the lips, and even on the tongue.  Unfortunately, they can be uncomfortable.  Braces do not cause the sores, but they can trigger or aggravate the area.  Using a topical anesthetic such as Orabase or Ora-Gel will give immediate relief.  Apply the ointment as often as needed.  Make sure to use a cotton swab to keep other areas from getting infected.

Tenderness of the Mouth

When you get your braces, your mouth is not used to having this new appliance.  It may take a while for your mouth, cheeks, lips, and tongue to get used to the new feeling.  Eating with your new braces can be irritating.  A small amount of relief wax will help by giving a cushion between your cheek and braces.  You can pinch off a small piece and roll it into a tiny ball.  Flatten the wax and place it completely over the area of braces that is causing the discomfort.  This trick will help make eating and talking so much easier, and you will feel better in no time.  If you accidentally swallow the wax, do not worry because it is completely harmless. If the irritation does continue, please call our office.  You may need an adjustment to help out.

If You Lose a Rubber or Wire Ligature to the Bracket

If a rubber ligature, which holds the wire to the bracket, should come off, it is nothing to worry about. We can easily replace it at your next visit. There are times when the wire ligature sticks out and pokes into the lip.  You may simply push the wire back with a cotton swab or pencil eraser away from your cheek.

Wire Pokes

There are times when the wire feels as if it slides out the back or out of the bracket.  The good news is that your teeth are closing space, the bad news is that the slack is coming out of the back and poking you. You can use a cotton swab or a pencil eraser to push the wire so it is flat against the tooth.  Occasionally the end of a wire will work itself out of place and irritate the patient’s mouth. If you cannot get to the wire because it is in a difficult position, use your relief wax to cover the wire.

If you’re not scheduled to come into our office soon or the wire is extremely bothersome, give us a call so we may schedule an appointment to clip your wire.

What if I Have a Broken Bracket?

Brackets are what hold the wires of the braces in place.  Brackets are strong and tough but if you eat hard, crunchy or sticky types of food, they can loosen and even come off the tooth.  If hit hard enough in the mouth, the same result could happen as well.  This is why it is best to avoid foods that are not friendly to braces and wear a mouth guard during any type of physical activity.

The best thing to do if a bracket breaks or comes loose is contact our office. Dr. Boyd will want to examine your mouth and decide the best approach to fix your bracket. If you are unable to get to our office right away, you can do a quick fix by using sterile tweezers to slide the bracket until it is between the teeth.  Turn the bracket back to the correct position and place it back on the center of the tooth.  Remember this is just a temporary fix.  It is best to see Dr. Boyd as soon as possible.

Direct Injuries To The Mouth

Should you experience a direct injury to your mouth and or teeth , it is imperative to immediately ice the injured area and contact your general dentist as soon as possible, whether you are undergoing orthodontic treatment or not. A digital image of the involved tooth (or teeth) is usually needed to determine the extent of the injury. If a tooth has been displaced, knocked out, or fractured, it is best to contact your family dentist first, since we may not have the necessary materials or anesthesia required to treat these injuries. If the appliances are dislodged or displaced, we will need to replace or adjust them after you have seen your general dentist, depending upon the comfort level of the patient. Please call our office to schedule an appointment.

After Office Hours

If a true orthodontic emergency arises that requires immediate attention,  please contact our office at 804.747.7447. Our automated system will then provide you with the on call information regarding who to contact for further immediate assistance.