A dental emergency can happen at any time. However, determining which problems are true orthodontic emergencies or those that can be resolved in a day or two can be challenging. In this article our orthodontists discuss how to determine whether you need an emergency orthodontic appointment.
Minor Discomfort is Normal
Mild discomfort is a common side effect of orthodontic care, and knowing what to expect in terms of pain will help you recognize an orthodontic emergency if it occurs.
Pain vs. Discomfort
You may experience more pain than normal at times, such as when your braces are first fitted and treatment starts. Try to be patient; your mouth will adapt to your new braces or dental implant over time.
If inflammation of your cheeks and lips is causing you discomfort, put a ball of orthodontic wax over the offending bracket for immediate relief.
You’re likely to experience some pressure after an adjustment consultation or when you move to the next set of aligners. Your mouth will take some time to adapt to the new location of your teeth as well as the pressure from braces or aligners, but this discomfort should be brief.
Poking or Scratching Wires
As your teeth move into their new positions, your wires can begin to poke or scratch the inside of your cheek, which can be painful. Use a blunt tool, such as a spoon, to momentarily force the poking wire out of the way and alleviate the irritation, or call the orthodontist to schedule an appointment to get the excess wire cut off. It may be beneficial to place a ball of orthodontic wax over the wire.
Examples of orthodontic emergency
Intense pain that cannot be relieved using the aforementioned approaches is an orthodontic emergency! Make an immediate consultation with your orthodontist right away. Pain that is unbearable is never usual!
Broken Braces (or other orthodontic appliance)
If your braces (or other orthodontic appliance) has broken, or if a wire is jabbing painfully into your cheek and you can’t repair it temporarily, call your orthodontic office right away to make an emergency appointment.
Apply ice to the sore area to help soothe discomfort, or if a piece of your braces has come off, try to find it and carry it to your appointment.