True orthodontic emergencies are very rare, but when they do occur we are available to you. As a general rule, you should call the office when you experience severe pain or when you have a painful appliance problem that you can't take care of yourself. We'll be able to schedule an appointment to resolve the problem. If you have an orthodontic “emergency” after office hours, you are not on your own. Call the office to get the emergency phone number and Dr. Mellas will be there to help. It is helpful to take a picture of the problem with your smartphone so that you can share that via text with the doctor. Most orthodontic problems can be easily handled over the phone.
When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. The soreness can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a warm saltwater mouthwash. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in eight ounces of warm water, and rinse your mouth vigorously. Placing Orabase or a numbing gel on the affected area may also help; this can be found in a pharmacy. If the tenderness and pressure on the teeth is uncomfortable, take Advil or Tylenol or whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain.
The lips, cheeks and tongue may also become sensitive or irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can put wax on the braces to feel more comfortable. We will demonstrate how to use the wax on the day that your appliances are placed.
Headgear may provide discomfort if the facebow becomes bent. Sometimes headgear discomfort is caused by not wearing the headgear as instructed by your orthodontist. Please follow the instructions that were given to you by the orthodontist. If the facebow is bent, please call our office for assistance. Surprisingly, the headgear may hurt less as it's worn more, so be sure you're getting in the prescribed hours.
If any part of your appliance feels loose or is poking you, place wax on the offending part of your appliance and give our office a call.
If you notice that one of your brackets or bands have become loose and is still attached to the wire, you should leave it in place and put wax on it to provide stability. Call our office and let our receptionist know that a bracket has broken.
Using tweezers that have been cleaned with rubbing alcohol, try to put your wire back into place and add wax for stability.
Using a pencil eraser, push the poking wire down or into its original position until it is no longer irritating the surrounding tissue. Place wax on it to alleviate the discomfort. If this does not fix the problem and the wire is still poking out and causing pain, a small fingernail clipper that has been cleaned with rubbing alcohol can be used to clip the wire behind the last tooth to which it is securely fastened. Make sure to hold the wire that will be cut off so that it is not swallowed. If your discomfort continues, place wax on it. You will need to schedule an appointment to replace the wire.