Published on May 3, 2016, Updated on November 11, 2017
Orthodontic emergencies sometimes arise during treatment. Learn what to do if you have one so you are prepared and don’t panic.
As you become accustomed to your new braces, your teeth will likely be tender and you may experience a dull ache for the first 2-4 days. We recommend patients eat soft foods during this initial adjustment period and use an over-the-counter pain reliever if necessary. Some patients also find a warm saltwater rinse helpful. Accessory appliances such as rubber bands, springs, or headgear can occasionally cause teeth to become sore. When wearing these appliances as prescribed, the sensitivity typically goes away in 2-4 days.
Lip and Cheek Sores
During the initial adjustment period in new braces, patients may get small sores on their lips or cheeks. Within a few weeks, the lips and cheeks will become less sensitive. If at any time during treatment you notice a particular area of your braces that is aggravating the inside of your mouth, place a small piece of wax on the part of your braces that is causing the irritation. A topical anesthetic such as Orabase® or Orajel® can be used for immediate relief.
Loose Bands and Brackets
Brackets and bands typically break when patients eat certain prohibited foods or pick at their braces. If a band or bracket comes loose and is uncomfortable, place a piece of wax on the spot causing irritation. In general, a broken bracket is not an emergency and can be fixed at your next scheduled appointment. If the broken bracket causes significant discomfort, is supposed to hold a rubber band in place, or if a bracket breaks on one of the upper or lower 4 front teeth, please call the office at 720-887-6003 and we will schedule an appointment as soon as possible.
Wires can come loose from sticky foods or when a patient picks at the braces. If you notice a wire is protruding and causing irritation, try using a Q-tip or clean pencil eraser to push the wire in towards the teeth to relieve the discomfort. Placing wax over the spot causing irritation may also allow the cheek to heal and toughen up. If issues persist, please contact our office and we will help you remedy the situation. To help avoid accidental damage, patients should also avoid biting their fingernails and pens or pencils.
Loose or Missing Elastic Tie
If you notice a loose or missing elastic tie that goes around a bracket, don’t worry. These elastic ties can be fixed or replaced during your next appointment.
Accidents to the Mouth
If you experience a bump or trauma to the mouth during orthodontic treatment and your teeth were hit and hurt, please call the office right away. A short examination will ensure that no damage has been done.