You may experience some unexpected events during your orthodontic treatment. While true emergencies are rare, they occasionally do happen, and we want you to know what to do about them. We also want you to know what to do about those orthodontic events that aren’t emergencies but that do require attention.
If you’re experiencing a dental or orthodontic emergency, and you’re a patient at Avenue Orthodontics, please call our office. If you’re not our patient, please contact your orthodontist immediately.
A true dental and orthodontic emergency may occur in the case of trauma to the mouth. If you experience this, and there is a significant injury or damage to your braces, then you should call us immediately to inform us of the situation. We can advise you over the phone on what your next steps should be. Depending on the exact situation, you may or may not need to be seen immediately. Because teeth can be put at risk for major damage or even permanent loss by a traumatic injury that isn’t properly cared for, it’s best to be safe and call your orthodontist right away instead of trying to take care of any problems yourself.
Other than trauma, there are few situations that constitute actual orthodontic emergencies (although they may feel like they are at the time). You can take some simple steps to deal with them, and then call our office during regular business hours (718-767-8400) to schedule an appointment so that we can take care of the problem.
If an archwire comes loose and is protruding from the brackets, irritation may occur to the inside of the cheek or gum. Using a pencil eraser or cotton swab, you can try to bend the wire toward your tooth so that it’s not sticking into your cheek or gum. If that doesn’t work, you can place orthodontic wax over the protruding wire. If the only way to get relief from the poking wire is to clip the wire, you can attempt to do this with fingernail clippers, making sure you clip the wire as close as possible to the first bracket where it’s still attached. Call our office to let us know; we may need to see you to fix the problem, although you may be able to wait until your next regularly scheduled appointment.
If a bracket comes loose or rotates, it will usually remain secured to the wire by the elastic bands, but if it’s loose, take it out of the mouth for safety. Call our office to let us know. Sometimes, you will need to come in for an appointment to reattach the bracket, but sometimes it can wait until the next regularly scheduled appointment.
Loose Elastic Tie
If one of the small rubber bands that holds the archwire into the brackets comes off, you may be able to put it back on yourself using tweezers (clean them thoroughly before using them for this purpose). If you can’t get it back on yourself, it can usually wait until the next scheduled appointment, as long as the archwire is still held securely into the other brackets. You can call our office to be sure.
Common Everyday Situations
Some minor discomfort can occur with braces. These situations don’t require attention by the orthodontist, but can be cared for at home with some simple techniques to increase your comfort.
Irritated Lips and Cheeks
You may have irritation on the insides of your cheeks or lips when you first get your braces. You can use a little orthodontic wax to cover up the brackets or wires that are irritating you. If you need to, you can use a topical numbing gel (such as Anbesol or Orajel) on the sore area to get relief. Don’t worry; the irritation will get better as your mouth gets used to your new braces.
You may feel soreness in your mouth after you get your braces and each time they are tightened. You should stick to soft foods for the few days after each appointment. You can use an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol), to help with the soreness, especially at night so that you can sleep well. You may also find that swishing warm water around in your mouth is soothing and helps relieve soreness; adding a few shakes of salt (approximately a teaspoon per glass) will help make it comfortable for any irritated spots.
Comfortable Orthodontic Treatment in Queens
We want your treatment to be as comfortable as possible. At Avenue Orthodontics, we take the time to answer all of your questions, and provide you with the tools you need to manage any discomfort that arises during your orthodontic treatment. Our Whitestone office serves Flushing, Little Neck, Douglaston, Bayside, and the surrounding area, including Long Island and Manhattan. We’re currently accepting new patients, including transfer patients (such as those who have started treatment in another location but are now moving to our area). Experience the Avenue Orthodontics difference!