How Do I Handle Orthodontic Emergencies? 

Here at Dr. Lili & Associates, we’ve been making SoCal smiles for more than 20 years, in and out of the office! It’s important to Dr. Lili, Dr. Wu, and the rest of the team that you feel confident and informed when it comes to your orthodontic care. Today, we want to look at the answer to the question, ‘How do I handle orthodontic emergencies?’. 

Recognizing Orthodontic Urgencies

Luckily, it’s pretty rare to come across an actual orthodontic emergency. However, there are plenty of minor issues that can arise, leading to all sorts of annoying circumstances that you’ll definitely want to know how to take care of! 

What to Do if Your Brackets Loosen

There are all sorts of reasons your brackets might come loose. Brackets might loosen due to eating tough or sticky food or from an injury. While not always critical, a loose bracket should be addressed quickly to avoid discomfort or delays in your treatment. If you notice a loose bracket, get in touch with us immediately. We’ll guide you on whether to come in right away or handle it at home temporarily.

Handling Broken Wires

Broken wires are a common problem and need immediate attention since they can irritate or harm the inside of your mouth. If a wire breaks, one tip is to try to position it with a pencil eraser or cotton swab to a spot where it’s less annoying and use orthodontic wax for temporary relief.  

Understanding what to do with broken braces or loose brackets will go a long way towards taking care of any inconveniences you may run into on your orthodontic journey. These tips help prevent pain and keep your treatment moving smoothly.  

How Do I Handle Orthodontic Emergencies?

Immediate Steps for Orthodontic Pain Relief

Some discomfort during orthodontic treatment is completely normal, especially right after adjustments. This is actually a sign that your treatment is moving along as your teeth gently shift into their new positions. However, when this discomfort turns into pain, it becomes something you shouldn’t have to deal with. Here are some strategies to alleviate pain and manage minor emergencies from the comfort of your home:

1. Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers

Use over-the-counter pain medication to ease orthodontic pain. Ibuprofen or acetaminophen can be very effective. Always follow the dosage recommendations and consider any personal allergies or interactions with other medications you are taking. These medications not only relieve pain but also help in reducing inflammation.

2. Cold Compresses

Applying a cold compress to the cheek or jaw area can significantly reduce swelling and numb the pain. Wrap ice in a cloth or use a cold pack and apply it to the outside of your mouth for 15-20 minutes every hour as needed. This method is particularly useful after an adjustment when swelling tends to be more pronounced.

3. Orthodontic Wax

For pain caused by braces or wires that are poking or scraping against your mouth’s interior, applying orthodontic wax can provide immediate relief. Pinch off a small piece of wax, roll it into a ball, flatten it, and cover the entire irritating area. This creates a smooth barrier between your braces and the inside of your mouth, preventing further irritation and soreness.

4. Salt Water Rinse

A salt water rinse can help soothe sore gums and reduce the risk of infection. Dissolve a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water and swish it around in your mouth for about 30 seconds before spitting it out. This can be done several times a day to relieve discomfort and keep your mouth clean.

5. Soft Foods Diet

When your mouth is hurting, avoid foods that require a lot of chewing. Instead, opt for soft foods that are easier to eat. Smoothies, soups, yogurt, and mashed potatoes are good options that will help you avoid further pain and irritation as you recover from an orthodontic adjustment.

6. Good Oral Hygiene

Maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial, especially when experiencing orthodontic pain. Pain might deter you from brushing due to sensitivity, but reducing plaque build-up is essential to prevent additional complications like cavities or infections. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and be gentle around sore areas.

DIY Fixes for Minor Orthodontic Issues

For loose brackets still attached to the wire, keep them in place and use orthodontic wax to cover them and prevent irritation. If a wire is causing discomfort, gently push it flat against the tooth with a pencil eraser or cover it with wax. For broken wires, remove any loose pieces if possible, but never cut the wire as it might be swallowed or inhaled.

Remember, if you’re unsure how to handle a problem or if you continue to experience discomfort, please contact us for advice and support.

How Do I Handle Orthodontic Emergencies?

Ready to Help!

Thank you so much for taking the time to read up on how to handle orthodontic emergencies. Remember, Dr. Lili, Dr. Wu, and the whole team at Dr. Lili & Associates are always here to support you with top-notch care at our offices conveniently located in Anaheim, El Monte, Huntington Park, Lawndale, Los Angeles, Santa Ana, and Whittier. Your consultation is always free!

We can’t wait to get started!