True orthodontic emergencies are uncommon.
However, should you experience one, our team is always available. It could take some time becoming accustomed to your new appliance, so it’s not unusual for you to experience soreness and some minor aches and pains as your teeth begin to move into their correct positions.
As a general rule, please call our office at 510-482-0060 if you are in severe pain or have an uncomfortable appliance problem. We may provide you with some temporary at-home fixes until we can schedule an office visit for you.
If you believe you may have an emergency, the first step is to determine the severity of the situation.
- Does this scenario require immediate attention?
- Is this a minor issue that you can resolve on your own?
- Is this a problem that can wait until you can come into our office?
Even after you’ve alleviated your discomfort at home, it’s still crucial that you call us to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.
A damaged appliance can cause greater problems with your overall orthodontic treatment plan when left unaddressed.
Major Dental Emergencies
As aforementioned, true orthodontic emergencies are rare. However, they can occur. Examples include:
- Injury to the teeth, face, or surrounding oral soft tissues
- Facial or gingival swelling
- Severe pain that cannot be mitigated with over-the-counter medications or home remedies
If any of the above situations occur, contact your general dentist right away.
And if they are not open, we ask that you seek emergency room help as soon as possible. Your dentist is highly trained to handle a variety of dental emergencies.
In addition, general dental practices have diagnostic tools and resources necessary for addressing traumatic situations. Once the problem has been treated, your orthodontic plan can be modified as necessary.
Minor Orthodontic Problems
The majority of orthodontic problems are minor but nonetheless, we understand that they do cause discomfort and irritation. Here are the most common problems we encounter:
- Mouth sores from braces – Applying a topical anesthetic like Orabase or Orajel will alleviate the pain and help the sores heal.
- Irritation of lips and cheeks from braces – Pinch off some soft wax and place it over the area of the braces that are causing the irritation. You can also use a piece of wet cotton.
- Food is caught between the teeth behind the braces – Use dental floss or regular toothpick.
- Rubber ligature comes off – Use sterile tweezers to try to put it back in place or bend it back with a Q-tip.
- Brackets are loose – If a loose bracket is still connected to the wire, just leave it alone and place wax over it for comfort. If the bracket has come off, save the piece in a plastic bag and bring it to your next appointment.
- Wires are loose – Use a pair of sterile tweezers and try to put your wire back in place. You can also use a piece of floss to tie the wire into place, cover it in wax or as a last option just use a small nail clipper.
- Irritated gums and sore spots – Relief can be found by rinsing your mouth with a warm salt-water mouthwash.
- Overall discomfort and tooth pain – This is to be expected after braces are put on or adjustments are made. Stick to a soft food diet until it no longer hurts to chew harder foods.
Tylenol is great option to relieve generalized pain, tenderness, and discomfort.
Avoid using Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Motrin, Advil, and Naproxen, as these over-the-counter products will actually slow the movement of your teeth.
Contact Us for More Information
At Righellis Orthodontics in Oakland, CA, our team is here when you need us. If you think you may be experiencing an orthodontic emergency – or if you simply have a question about your situation – contact us online or give us a call at 510-482-0600.