Initially, getting used to devices used for orthodontic treatment may take some time. When you first begin to use these orthodontic appliances, it is common for soreness and minor teeth ache to occur. But it is important to note that genuine orthodontic emergencies rarely happen.
When you feel you are having an orthodontic emergency, few things need clarification- does the situation require urgent attention of a dental professional? Or is the issue manageable pending when you can be able to go to a dental office?
A Major Emergency
Genuine orthodontic emergencies are few and include:
- When there is a significant injury to the teeth, face or mouth.
- When the face, mouth, or gum is infected or swollen
- When there is severe pain in these areas.
Seek immediate help if faced with any of these situations. Although a regular emergency room can serve in cases of orthodontic emergencies, it is best to go to a dental office. For instance, it is crucial to diagnose and treat fractured teeth immediately.
After managing the crisis, treatment can continue as required. Infection can cause severe pain or swelling, which should also be handled as an emergency.
Some Minor Orthodontic Problems
Although most orthodontic problems are not as severe as those emergency cases, they can also cause irritation and discomfort. The causes of this discomfort can be taken care of before going to seek professional help. The following are common orthodontic problems and the best ways to handle them at home:
Loose or broken brackets, bands or wires
Playing with your braces or consuming hard and sticky food could cause parts of the braces to become loose or damaged. As long as the wires and brackets or bands are still connected, do not attach any elastic to them. Contact the dental office for recommendations on what to do.
Misplaced or poking archwire, bracket or tie
Movement of the teeth can result in the archwire jabbing near the back of the mouth or causing irritation of the cheeks. This occurrence can be relieved by using a pencil eraser or a Q-tip to move the wire into a better position.
A sterilized nail clipper can be used to cut the end of the wire if it doesn’t move. Misplaced wires can also be adjusted with tweezers. You should seek guidance from a dental professional before doing any of these. Also, the application of wax to the brackets and wires will ease discomfort caused by its irritation.
General tooth pain or loosening
Usually, during orthodontic treatment, the teeth might become slightly loose, which is an indication of teeth movement. This movement can cause soreness and tenderness, which can be managed with regular over the counter pain relievers. A 30 seconds salt water mouth rinse twice daily can be helpful. Pressing the jaw with a heating pad or cloth soaked in warm water can also offer some relief.