What to Do in Case of Emergency
When you call our office with an urgent orthodontic situation, it is important for you to know that there are various ways that such situations can be handled, depending on the nature of the emergency. Many times a patient or parent can relieve the discomfort and accompanying anxiety by following the instructions given over the phone by our staff member. We know it is not always convenient for you to come into our office. Also, many times it is not necessary to have same-day, in-office attention if the patient can be made comfortable.
After regular office hours, we have an assistant who is available 24 hours a day to handle emergency calls.
It might be that the staff member will instruct you to temporarily discontinue wearing a particular appliance or to bend an offending wire out of the way. You can be completely assured that if you are told to do anything like this, that this temporary situation will not be detrimental to your overall treatment progress.
Sometimes discomfort caused by a wire on your braces can be resolved by moving the wire away from the irritated area with a cotton swab or eraser. If the wire will not move, try covering the end of it with a small piece of cotton or a small amount of wax. If the wire is painful, you can cut it with nail clippers or scissors that have been washed and sterilized in alcohol. If you cannot resolve the wire irritation, please call our office.
Many patients lose separators after they are placed. The purpose of the separators is to create space between the teeth, and therefore when a separator becomes loose, it usually means satisfactory space has been developed. No special visit is necessary if your orthodontic appointment is within a few days.
Discomfort with Orthodontic Treatment
Through the course of treatment, there will be times when your teeth may be sore and something might irritate your cheeks, tongue or lips as they adjust to the wires and brackets. The techniques for handling local irritations and inflammations are:
- Warm salt water rinses
- Anti-inflammatory agents, such as aspirins. If you do not take aspirin or give aspirin to your child, an alternative is ibuprofen or other non-acetaminophen pain relievers.
- When due to a sharp projection of an appliance rubbing, appliance wax or the use of a small rolled up portion of a wet tissue or cotton ball can provide relief.
Normally our patients go through their orthodontic treatment with little or no discomfort as described. However, when these problems do occur, they seldom improve without the attention or care we have recommended. As tissues of the mouth do respond rapidly, relief of the existing problem should be felt within 24-48 hours.