The doctors maintain cell phones for emergencies. They can be reached at virtually any time -- call our office and follow the prompts for an emergency. Fortunately true orthodontic emergencies are relatively rare.
Types of Emergencies
A broken bracket can occur for several reasons including eating foods that are very hard, such as bagels, pizza crust, and apples. Special caution should be used with braces; apples should be sliced, bagels should be fresh. This usually does NOT require an "emergency" office visit, but please call and inform us. Most times it is not necessary to come into the office for immediate repair. If there is significant discomfort, of course we will see the patient. Certainly, there is no need to panic. These problems are easily resolved.
A broken wire is a significant emergency. Our office should be called and we should replace the broken wire quickly. Such an emergency might be quite uncomfortable. For immediate relief the use of nail clippers (or another "home tool") to cut the wire can be helpful.
If something feels unusually sharp in the mouth please call our office. Wax has been included in our homecare kits. Instruction on how to use wax is given to our patients at the time of brace placement.
A loose band is a significant problem. Bands are placed on the molars and help anchor the arch wire. If a band should become loose, attempt to reposition the band on the tooth, if possible, and call our office. If it cannot be placed back on the tooth, attempt to remove it or call our office.
When you call the office (973-379-3803) for an orthodontic emergency, please anticipate that the emergency will be handled by eliminating the source of the pain. Generally, prolonged treatment will not be rendered. Most times a "broken bracket" is NOT an emergency!
The doctor and the staff are here to help you. NO problem or irritation should be ignored. If you don't inform us of a problem, we can't help you!!
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. Stick to a soft diet until your teeth do not hurt to chewing. Irritated gums and other sore spots can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a warm salt-water mouthwash. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in eight ounces of warm water, and rinse your mouth vigorously. An alternative (better tasting) mouthwash is the Healthy Gums Rinse by The Natural Dentist. Placing Orabase on the affected area may also help relieve discomfort; Orabase can be found in a pharmacy. If the tenderness is severe, take Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain. Aspirin, Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and Naproxen Sodium (Naprosyn, Anaprox) actually slow the tooth movement, so it is not advisable to use them frequently while wearing braces.
The lips, cheeks, and tongue may become irritated for one to two weeks as they learn a new posture and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can put wax on the braces to lessen this. We'll show you how!
Sometimes discomfort is caused by not wearing the headgear as instructed by your orthodontist. Please refer to the instructions provided by your orthodontist. If the facebow (metal piece) is bent, please call our office for assistance. The headgear should hurt less the more it's worn, so be sure you get in the prescribed number of hours.
If your appliance is poking you, place wax on the offending part.
If your bracket or band is still attached to the wire, you should leave it in place and put wax on it if needed for comfort. If the bracket or band can be removed easily, place it in an envelope and save it to bring to your next appointment.
Using a pair of tweezers or needle-nosed pliers, try to put your wire back into place. It is okay to use a piece of floss to tie the wire into place: tie the floss around the bracket in place of the missing colored o-ring. If you cannot put the wire into a comfortable position, and covering the end with wax doesn't help, as a last resort use a small fingernail clipper to clip the wire behind the last tooth to which it is securely fastened. If the end of the wire is still sharp place wax on it.
Using a pencil eraser, push the poking wire down or place wax on it so that it is no longer poking.