Orthodontic treatment can take some getting used to. Some aching and soreness is to be expected as your teeth are being shifted and each time orthodontic appliances are adjusted.
Happily, orthodontic injuries are rare. However, if you have suffered an orthodontic injury, how can you determine if the injury is minor versus one that requires emergency care? The following tips should help.
Is the Injury Severe?
Here are some indicators of an actual orthodontic emergency:
- Sudden onset of swelling or signs of infection in and around your mouth.
- Unmanageable, intense pain in your mouth.
- Severe injury or trauma to your face, teeth or mouth.
If any of these have happened to you, seek immediate medical attention. If it is during normal working hours, you may contact our office so we can prepare for your emergency visit. If, however, the injury occurs when we are out of the office, then you may choose to go directly to the emergency room.
Less Severe Injuries
Even if your injury isn’t as severe as those noted above, we understand that you may still be suffering from irritation and discomfort. Contact us to schedule the soonest available appointment. Meanwhile, here are some tips to help you manage your pain.
Poking or missing archwire, tie or bracket:
As your teeth begin to shift into their corrected positions, your archwire (the wire that connects your teeth) may irritate the back of your mouth or your cheeks. You can attempt to adjust the wire to a new position by using a Q-Tip. If this is not successful, you can very carefully attempt to use a pair of tweezers to gently guide the wire to a new position.
Orthodontic wax can be applied to the wire to make it less abrasive.
Broken or loose bands, wire or brackets:
Loose or broken orthodontic appliances can be caused by the consumption of hard or sticky food and candy. If your bracket is loose but still attached, it is best to leave it alone until you see your dentist. If it is causing irritation, you can cover it with orthodontic wax. If your bracket or band has come off, put it in a safe place to take to your dentist at your scheduled appointment.
General loosening or pain:
Minor discomfort is to be expected for a few days following an adjustment to your braces. Remember, orthodontics move your teeth into their correct position. During this shifting, minor “loosening” of your teeth is natural.
When experiencing discomfort, it may be best to stick to soft foods for a few days. Over the counter pain medications (acetaminophen or ibuprofen) can be helpful in pain management. You can also rinse with mild salt water and apply a heating pad or warm washcloth to your jaw for relief.
If you are currently experiencing any of the above injuries or discomforts, please contact our qualified dental team in Auburn. We want to ensure your orthodontic treatment is as pain free as possible.
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