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Emergency Care



True orthodontic emergencies are very rare, but when they do occur we are available to you. As a general rule, you should call the office when you experience severe pain or when you have a painful appliance problem that you can't take care of yourself. We'll be able to schedule an appointment to resolve the problem.

You might be surprised to learn that you may be able to temporarily solve many problems yourself until you schedule an appointment with our office. When working with your appliances, you need to know the names of the parts of your appliances so you are able to identify what part is broken or out of place. After alleviating your discomfort, it is very important that you still call our office as soon as possible to schedule a time to repair the problem. Allowing your appliance to remain damaged for an extended period of time may result in disruptions in your treatment plan.


  • General Soreness

    When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. This can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a warm saltwater mouthwash. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in 8 ounces of warm water, and rinse your mouth vigorously. Placing Orabase on the affected area may help; this can be found in a pharmacy. If the tenderness is severe, take aspirin or whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain.

    The lips, cheeks and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can put wax on the braces to lessen this. We'll show you how!
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  • Headgear

    Sometimes headgear discomfort is caused by not wearing the headgear as instructed by your orthodontist. Please refer to the instructions provided by your orthodontist. If the facebow is bent, please call our office for assistance. Surprisingly, the headgear may hurt less as it's worn more, so be sure you're getting in the prescribed hours.
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  • Loose Appliance

    If your appliance is poking you, place wax on the offending part of your appliance.
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  • Loose Bracket

    If your bracket or band is still attached to the wire, you should leave it in place and put wax on it. If the wire comes out entirely, wrap the bracket with a tissue.
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  • Loose Wire

    Using a tweezer, try to put your wire back into place. If doing this and using wax doesn't help, as a last resort use a small fingernail clipper to clip the wire behind the last tooth to which it is securely fastened. If your discomfort continues, place wax on it.
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  • Poking Wire

    Using a pencil eraser, push the poking wire down or place wax on it to alleviate the discomfort.
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Elastic Tie

Small rubber band that is hooked between different points on the appliance to provide pressure to move the teeth.

Loop in Archwire

Frequently used for closing space left by an extraction. Many archwires don't have a loop.

Archwire

The main wire that acts as a track to guide the teeth along. It's changed periodically throughout treatment, as teeth move to their new positions.

Bracket

Small attachment that holds the archwire in place. Most often, a bracket is cemented directly onto the tooth's surface, eliminating the need for a band.

Headgear Tube

Round, hollow attachment on the back bands. The inner bow of the headgear fits into it.

Coil Spring

Fits between brackets and over archwire to open space between teeth.

Tie Wire

Fine wire that is twisted around the bracket to hold the archwire in place.

Band

A thin ring of metal fitted around a tooth and cemented in place. The band provides a way to attach the brackets to the tooth.

Hook

Welded or removable arm to which elastics (rubber bands) are attached.

Elastic (Rubber Band)

Small rubber band that is hooked between different points on the appliance to provide pressure to move the teeth.

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