Orthodontic emergencies and first aid

Emergencies with your orthodontic treatment happen on occasion. We have compiled a few basic tips and tricks you can use at home.  If you have an orthodontic Emergency or treatment needs are outside the scope of first aide, please contact our office.  If you have a medical emergency, please call 911.

What do I do if I feel discomfort?

It is not unusual for the teeth to become sore in 3-4 hours after your appointment. This is commonly described as an “aching” feeling and may last 4-6 days. Advil or Tylenol will help alleviate this discomfort. After the first day, it is actually helpful to “exercise” the teeth by chewing food. A diet which is extremely soft may actually prolong the discomfort.

What do I do if I have a sore in my mouth?

While a mouthwash such as Listerine will kill bacteria in your mouth, it may actually irritate an open sore. We recommend a mild saltwater rinse. Orabase ointment,which is a topical anesthetic, may then be placed over the sore (dry the area first) to temporarily relieve the discomfort.

What do I do if the braces irritate my lips or cheeks?

It may take some time for the inside of your mouth to adjust to the new braces. Placing wax or silicone over the irritating areas at night may be helpful during this period of adjustment. Having braces is like having a wearing a really bad uncomfortable pair of shoes, and will cause discomfort for the first week or so.

What do I do if I feel a wire poking?

  • Wire tie or end of the wire is poking – place wax over the irritating area or use a pencil erasure to push the sharp end toward the tooth
    end of the poking wire.
  • Can also use toe nail clipper if you can easily access the loose wire and just clip the protruding wire.
  • Place wax over the sharp end of the wire.
  • Sometimes the arch wire can slide to the other side around in the braces from one side of the mouth to the other. Use a pencil erasure to push the wire back to the other side so it is not sticking you. Or a flat blunt metal object to push the wire with.
  • Cut the wire with a small pair of wire cutters or nail clippers.

What do I do if I have a loose band or bracket?

  • If bracket is still attached to the wire, leave it in place.
  • Stop wearing the elastic rubber band if it attaches in this area.
  • Call office to schedule an appointment for repair – even if you already have an appointment scheduled, with the previously scheduled procedure. it is important that adequate time is set aside for the repair along

What do I do if a separator (or “spacer”) comes out?

Attempt to replace the spacer or separator. If you can not replace it, contact us or come into the office.

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Meet Your Dentist!

Dr. Frank Pettinato II
  • Board Certified Pediatric Dentist
  • Masters in Science Degree
  • Diplomate, American Board of Pediatric Dentistry