First Aid

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Please keep in mind that problems with orthodontic braces, wires or appliances are normally not an emergency. If a brace(s), appliance is loose or a wire is long, please do not panic.

Temporary relief can be provided by following the steps below and please phone us to arrange an appointment at your earliest convenience if you are experiencing discomfort or pain. If you are not experiencing discomfort, most problems can wait to be addressed at your next regular visit so that you do not have to be inconvenienced with having to come in for an extra appointment.

General aches and pains

We are not always in the office when problems arise. So here are a few things you can do to provide temporary relief:

  • It is normal to experience some discomfort for a couple days after adjustment appointments.
  • Advil (ibuprofen) is generally the most effective non-prescription medication for mouth related pains. Please follow the instructions provided on the bottle.
  • If you can not take Advil, Tylenol may be used instead. Please follow the instructions provided on the bottle.
  • Eat soft foods and avoid foods that are difficult to chew and/or are hard.
  • Cold foods and drinks will cause your wires to relax and be less tense, providing relief.
  • If your jaw muscles are sore, a warm heating pad or cloth will help.

Brace – loose or broken

Don’t worry, as a loose or broken brace can happen occasionally. Please call our office for advice if a brace or wire is loose; however, if your next appointment is only a couple weeks away and you are not in any pain or discomfort, typically you do not have to make an extra trip to the office, as it can wait until your next scheduled appointment to be repaired. Otherwise, give us a call and we will arrange an appointment to repair the loose or broken brace. If you still have the loose brace, please bring it with you to your appointment.

Long wire

Please call the office to arrange an appointment in order to have the wire snipped. If our office is closed at the time, do not worry, as the following tips will provide resolution until you can come in to have the long wire addressed:

  • Put orthodontic wax or gum on the end of the wire that is bothering you. Don’t worry, the wax will not slow down movement of your teeth.
  • Using a pair of nail clippers, cut the wire as close to the bracket as you possibly can and use orthodontic wax to cover what was missed.
  • Use the eraser end of a pencil to push the long wire away from your gums or cheek.

Lost spacers

It is not uncommon for patients to lose a spacer in-between appointments, as this typically means they have done their job in creating space and that is why they fall out. Do not worry about losing the spacer; however, please call our office to see if it needs to be replaced prior to your next appointment.

Appliance – lose or broken

If you have an appliance that is lose or broken, please call our office to arrange an appointment to repair it. However, do not panic as it typically takes a few days to a few weeks for any significant shift of your teeth to occur – but it is important to notify us as soon as possible as some situations are more time sensitive than others. If you have an expansion appliance, simply stop turning the key until we can see you to repair the problem.

What to do if you experience severe pain

If you are experiencing severe pain, please call the office immediately. If you have had jaw surgery or any other form of surgery with an oral surgeon and are experiencing severe pain, please contact our office and that of the oral surgeons immediately. If our office is not open and your problem becomes unbearable, you can find assistance by contacting either your family dentist, the hospital emergency department for the contact number of the emergency on-call dentist, or go directly to the local hospital emergency department for immediate attention.

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