When you’re wearing braces, even small problems may leave you searching for orthodontic emergency care. But as it turns out, not every problem with your braces is an emergency. In fact, there are times when it’s actually normal for your braces to cause a little discomfort. That’s why, today, I’m going to review normal problems with braces. And the cases where issues mean you’ll need an emergency orthodontist visit.
Most days, your braces won’t hurt. But at the beginning of your teeth straightening treatment? You may be a bit uncomfortable. In your first week with braces, your mouth may be a little sore. And that’s normal.
Your new brackets may cause some skin irritation. Your jaw may feel strange. And your teeth could even feel loose. But none of these are reasons to look for orthodontic emergency care. Because all these concerns should clear up within a week.
Now, let’s move to later in your orthodontic treatment. You may also be uncomfortable after regular adjustments. When your orthodontist tightens your wires, that helps straighten your teeth. But the pressure can be a bit uncomfortable. The same is true when you start a new set of Invisalign aligners. But, again, this kind of discomfort is not an emergency. It should pass within a day or so, once you adjust to the new pressure levels. Your orthodontist will give you tips for dealing with temporary discomfort.
The point of getting braces is to move your teeth into their optimal position. But sometimes, as your teeth move, the wires on your braces will start to poke your cheeks. This is a common and easy problem to adjust.
If the wire is gently poking you, try to get it off your skin using a household item such as a spoon or a clean pencil. Once you move the wire, cover the poking end with wax. Then call your orthodontist, so he or she can clip the problem wire. And remember: yes, it’s uncomfortable. But this poking wire isn’t a reason to seek orthodontic emergency care. It’s ok to wait a day or two until your regular orthodontist can get you into the office.
Now, what about a broken bracket on your braces? Does that mean you need an emergency orthodontist visit? Here, the answer depends on how that broken bracket is looking. If your bracket is just loose, but still attached to the wire, it’s not an emergency.
So, what should you do? Leave the loose bracket in place, and gently apply some dental wax. It’s ok if you can’t see your orthodontist for a day or two after noticing this loose bracket. But if your broken bracket comes off its wire, that’s a real problem. You should wrap the broken bracket in tissue right away. Next, get into the orthodontist office as soon as you can, to avoid delays in your treatment plan.
Still, even this broken bracket isn’t a true orthodontic emergency. Which may leave you asking: when do I need to get orthodontic emergency care? That’s what I’ll review right now!
Before you panic, I want you to remember that it’s pretty rare to have a real emergency related to your braces. That’s especially true if you practice good oral hygiene and you avoid eating certain foods. And if you are careful to protect your mouth and braces, especially when you play sports. Because a well-fitted mouth guard can go a long way towards preventing a true emergency. When you have braces, or after completing your treatment.
Now, many of the problems you’ll face when you have braces are serious. Poking wires and broken brackets should be quickly addressed. That way, your orthodontic treatment stays on track. But they aren’t a cause for emergency orthodontic care.
So, how can you tell when you need to see an emergency orthodontist? If you’re feeling extreme pain, see if it gets better with non-prescription medicine. Or try any of the suggestions I offered earlier. But if none of those tips work, you may be having an orthodontic emergency.
Also, if any of the wires on your braces are actually poking through your skin or gums, that’s an emergency. You can still try to pull off a temporary fix at home, but you should also go see an emergency orthodontist.
Aside from these issues, you can resolve most problems with your braces at home. At least in the short term. But these fixes should only buy you time and pain relief. You’ll still need to get an appointment with your regular orthodontist. Because, if you don’t? It could delay your teeth straightening.
There’s one thing I want you to remember. It’s important not to panic if something goes wrong with your braces. We can solve your problems with braces. From a broken bracket to a poking wire, or pain in your teeth.
But you have to be part of the solution. Stay calm. Use your home tools. And quickly get in touch with your orthodontist, so we can get you that pain relief you need. And get your orthodontic treatment plan back on track, right away!
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