At first, having orthodontic treatment may take a little getting used to. It isn't uncommon to experience a bit of soreness when appliances are first put on, or some minor aches as teeth begin moving into new positions. Yet it's comforting to know that genuine orthodontic emergencies are rare.
If you think you may have an emergency, however, the first step is to determine the severity of the problem: Is it an urgent situation that requires immediate attention, or a minor problem that you can take care of yourself, temporarily, until you can come in to the office?
The most important aspect of any orthodontic emergency is whether you are in pain. If something is broken, loose, or shifts and you are not in pain, it is not urgent. Call us at your convenience as we may want to fix it before your next appointment. Usually we will want to fix you within a week or two.
The following diagram should help you identify which part needs attention!
If you are in pain and cannot correct it yourself call us immediately so we can make you comfortable!
If it is after hours simply call our office (847-277-1212) and our answering machine will instruct you how to obtain emergency care.
Common Problems You Can Easily Fix Yourself
Soreness : Rinsing your mouth with warm water mixed with salt helps alleviate soreness of the cheeks and tongue. There are also many over- the- counter rinses available at any drug or grocery store if you would like to try those. Tylenol or Advil are other options and work especially well for tooth soreness due to tooth movement. Soreness is common at the start of treatment and should subside in a few days.
Sore or bleeding gums : Brushing, flossing and rinsing with warm salt water or mouthwash should help over the course of 2 to 3 days. Usually you have some plaque or food debris trapped which is causing inflammation. Once it is cleaned out things will return to normal in a few days.
Loose Wire : An irritating loose wire can be covered with orthodontic wax, pushed back into place using an eraser or tweezers, or clipped back with fingernail clippers or cuticle scissors. Do not worry about destroying the wire, we will make you a new one.
Loose Band or Bracket : It is OK to leave loose parts in place and just be careful around them. If it is annoying, you can cover the offending area with orthodontic wax. Sometimes the band or bracket will come completely off. That’s OK, save it and bring it with you to your next appointment. If you are not in pain, no big deal, just call us soon so we can get you scheduled to repair things.
Loose expander : Expanders are very rigid appliances and cannot be clipped or cut. If one side is loose but not painful just leave it in place and stop turning. Often when one side comes loose, wiggling it will cause the other side to loosen and the entire appliance comes out. That’s OK just call soon so we can fix it in a week or so.
Missing “O” Rings or Ties: Definitely not urgent but be careful around it and it should be replaced within 2 weeks if you don’t have and appointment coming up.