Fortunately, it is rare to experience an urgent orthodontic need. Most discomfort during orthodontic treatment comes from sore teeth and poking wires.
Teeth are frequently sore when moving, so to reduce discomfort you may take an over-the-counter pain medication containing acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil/Motrin). Taking an analgesic such as these is usually recommended right after getting your braces put on, as this tends to be when teeth are most sensitive.
There are several different types and uses of wires throughout orthodontic treatment. It’s not uncommon to have a wire that’s tied around an individual bracket to become untucked due to eating, brushing, or flossing. These little wires may be tucked into your braces with a fingernail or you may use wax to protect your cheek or lip from the poking area. Your main arch wire (it goes through the braces) may also slide in one direction, leaving it longer in the back on one side. It may even pop out of the last bracket. This happens only on occasion and typically only with thin, flexible wires. Fortunately, there are some ways to manage the discomfort at home; these wires may be cut using a toenail clipper or pushed into a more comfortable position using a Q-Tip or pencil eraser. Placing wax (whether provided by our office or purchased at a drugstore) can be a very effective way to minimize discomfort. By being aware of what you can do for poking wires, it is often unnecessary to schedule an immediate emergency appointment.
What is an emergency?
A loose appliance (other than the braces themselves) should be promptly cleaned and replaced. Depending on the appliance, speaking and eating may be impaired if broken or loose. If you ever have a question as to when you think you should come in to have anything repaired, please call one of our offices! We will gladly make accommodations for you!