Carl Walker Orthodontics
Friday, June 23, 2017

Emergencies


The straight scoop on emergencies:
There are very few true orthodontic emergencies as most problems can be handled at home. However, if you have a situation that you cannot resolve on your own, call us so we can fit you in for a repair appointment. To keep everything in line, follow the instructions below to keep your teeth happy!
 
BRACKETS
Give us a call to see if the bracket needs repair. If the bracket is still attached to the wire with the o-ring (tiny elastic) and is not bothering the patient, you may leave it as is until we see you. Otherwise, you may remove the bracket or band, put it in a zipper type bag and bring it with you when you come in. If you must cut the wire, use fingernail clippers that have been sterilized with alcohol. Remember this is not usually an emergency. 
 
BROKEN PERMANENT RETAINER
This is not usually an afterhours emergency, but instead requires a repair appointment. Call us so we can fit you in as soon as possible - just don’t wait too long as you don't want your teeth to move! If you have a wire sticking or rubbing your mouth, you may use fingernail clippers that have been sterilized with alcohol to clip the wire. Wax or silicone earplugs (available at the drugstore) may be placed over any spots that are rubbing your lips raw - just remember to dry the spot really well so the wax will stick.
 
LOST SEPARATOR
It is common to lose a separator before the braces are put on, but the reasons it can come out vary. Call our office to see if it needs to be replaced or whether you can wait until your appointment.
 
WIRES
Wax won't help this one! For a broken or sticking wire, use fingernail clippers that have been sterilized with alcohol. Call us asap to schedule a repair appointment, as we don’t want you to lose any ground by waiting too long to have a new wire placed.  If it is after hours, listen for the emergency prompt and press the key to leave a message.  We can get someone to the office to clip this for you if it can't be done at home. 
 
SORENESS
When you first get your braces (and sometimes after adjustments), you may feel general soreness in your mouth and teeth may be tender for three to five days. Continue a soft diet, and rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater mouthwash may help ease some of the soreness. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in 8 ounces of warm water, and rinse your mouth vigorously. You may also take ibuprofen and/or acetaminophen as needed per bottle directions.
 
ULCERS & SORES
When you first get braces, the lips, cheeks and tongue may become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. It’s like going barefoot in the summer – your feet have to develop calluses, and initially those feet are tender! Keep your lips lubricated with lip balm, and apply wax on the braces to lessen the irritation – just make sure they are super dry so the wax will stick. Silicone earplugs (available at the drugstore) are also helpful and sometimes stick better than wax. If you have ulcers and sores that don't improve over time, please call our office.
 
HEADGEAR
Sometimes headgear discomfort is caused by not wearing the headgear as instructed. You may need a refresher on how to wear it, so call us for a good time to come by. If the facebow is bent, please call our office for assistance. 
 
INFLAMED GUMS
It is super important to keep your teeth and gums healthy during orthodontic treatment. If you don’t clean your teeth well enough (even if you’re brushing twice a day), your gums could swell and bleed. Bleeding during brushing is not normal, so it's imperative that you brush along the gumline thoroughly every time you brush. Gentle but thorough brushing and flossing will usually help return the gums to a healthy state. If these measures don’t help, please call for an appointment to get it checked.
 
TRAUMA TO TEETH
Run; don’t walk to your regular dentist as soon as possible. Usually an x-ray of the involved teeth is required to determine the extent of the injury. We will not have the necessary equipment and materials needed to treat these injuries, and we don’t want you to waste any time getting it checked. Once your dentist has completed emergency treatment, we can then adjust or replace any broken orthodontic appliances – just call us to schedule.
 
ALLERGIES
Although uncommon, allergic reactions during orthodontic treatment can occur. Patients may be allergic to the metal in some appliances, or to the latex gloves worn by staff. If unusual or unexplained symptoms such as inflammation, redness in your mouth, excessive ulcers or mouth sores, or a skin rash appear, please call us for advice.