In most case, orthodontic treatment requires a short adjustment period. When wearing braces for the first time it’s common to experience a bit of soreness or some minor aches as teeth begin moving into their new positions. However, past that your orthodontic treatment should progress smoothly and pain-free.
Although orthodontic emergencies are rare, sometimes they do happen. And as such, the skilled staff and trusted orthodontists of Coastal Carolina Orthodontics want to make sure you have all the information you need to properly handle one.
To begin with, if you think you have an orthodontic emergency, the first step is to determine the severity of the problem. Is it an urgent situation that requires immediate attention, or a minor problem that you can take care of yourself—finding a temporary solution—until you can come in to either or Morehead City, Havelock, and Jacksonville, NC office?
There are only a few true orthodontic (or dental) emergencies:
If you or your child experiences any of these problems, you should seek help as soon as possible. If the issue is severe enough, you may want to go to the emergency room. Generally, though, the best place to start is with your regular dentist, as he or she is trained to handle a wide array of dental problems and is the most likely source for the diagnostic tools, anesthetics, and treatments you need.
If, for example, you have a fractured tooth, your dentist will treat the immediate problem and arrange for the tooth's restoration. Afterwards your orthodontic treatment plan can be adjusted as needed. In another scenario, if you visit your dentist with severe pain or swelling, he or she will be able to spot an infection or disease that may be causing it.
Fortunately, the vast majority of orthodontic problems are minor compared to these situations — but they still may cause you discomfort or irritation. In general, it's best to try and soothe the immediate cause of the discomfort and then call our office to schedule an appointment in Morehead City, Havelock, or Jacksonville, NC so we can allot a sufficient amount of time to take care of you. Continue reading below to learn about a few of the more common orthodontic problems, along with some tips on what you can do to relieve them at home.
This can happen if you eat hard or sticky candy/food, or play with your braces. Should this problem occur, if the band or bracket is still attached to the wire, leave it as is but don't connect any elastics to it. You can cover it with orthodontic wax if it's irritating the inside of your mouth. If the broken component has come off completely, save it. In either case, call our office to let us know what happened, and we will set up a visit with your orthodontist. Be sure to bring any loose parts with you to the appointment that we schedule.
As the teeth start to move, the wire that connects them (archwire) may begin poking you near the back of the mouth or irritating your cheeks. You can try moving the wire into a better position with a pencil eraser or a Q-Tip. You can also often use tweezers to gently move a misplaced wire or a tie that's causing problems. If the wire won't move, you may be able to cut the end off with a nail clipper sterilized in alcohol. But, before doing so, please call our office for guidance and instructions on how to do this.
When wires or brackets cause irritation, covering the metal parts with wax will often ease the discomfort. With any of these problems, please call our office and we'll schedule a time to see you.
It's normal for teeth to become slightly loosened during orthodontic treatment; that’s a sign that they’re moving. Sometimes this movement may be accompanied by tenderness, especially after braces are placed or adjusted. For minor tenderness/soreness, you can use your regular over-the-counter pain reliever to ease the discomfort. A twice-a-day salt-water rinse can help (mix one teaspoon of salt in an 8-ounce glass of warm water then rinse with it for 30 seconds). A warm washcloth or heating pad placed on the outside of the jaw might also offer some relief.
While actual orthodontic emergencies are rare, our goal as a practice is to make your orthodontic treatment as comfortable as possible. So if you need additional advice or information, please don't hesitate to call us at one of our offices. The staff at our Morehead City, Havelock, and Jacksonville, NC practice is always happy to help you.