Orthodontic Emergencies

While we recognize that orthodontic “emergencies” are not life-and-death situations, we also understand that situations may occur that cause discomfort. Perhaps a wire will break or you accidentally eat something that causes a problem. We have provided the information below to help you prevent those types of emergencies and also to answer some of the most common questions regarding these special situations.

Teeth, when moving, can be really tender for about a week after the initial placement of the orthodontic appliances and also after each adjustment. Discomfort can be relieved by over-the-counter pain relievers such as Tylenol or Motrin. Follow the dosage recommendations and any additional precautions as listed on the bottle. Some patients find it helpful to take the first dose at the appointment time to help prevent some of the discomfort to come when the teeth start to move.

During the first two weeks, the inside of your cheeks will be tender because they are not used to the braces. As time goes by, the inside of the cheeks will toughen up and adjust to the braces. While the cheeks are still overly sensitive, using wax on the rough spots can be very helpful. Also helpful are warm saltwater rinses which soothe the cheek lining (see instructions below).

Some inconveniences while going through treatment are normal. Many times repairs can be put off until your next regular appointment. Of course, we are here to serve you and encourage you to call any time you have a question.

Making a saltwater rinse

To make a salt water rinse, mix ½ teaspoon of table salt in one cup of warm water. Stir until the salt is completely dissolved. Gently swish about ¼ of the cup in your mouth for 30 seconds. Make sure you force the water over the areas that feel sore. Then spit the water into the sink. Repeat until the entire cup is gone.

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