Emergency Orthodontic Care
The comfort of our patients is important to us. We want to take care of your emergency or problem as soon as possible.
Some common difficulties with braces can include a poking wire, a loose bracket or band, or a lost separator. But if you are experienced unusual discomfort, or something that is out of the ordinary, you should contact us for treatment. Steps that you can take until you can get into the office are described below.
What do I do if I have an orthodontic emergency during regular office hours?
If you have an orthodontic emergency, call us to schedule an emergency appointment at 650-342-4171. Please try to reach us for an appointment before coming into the office. By calling us we're able to schedule the best time to take care of you. That way we do not keep you or our regularly scheduled patients waiting.
What do I do if I have an orthodontic emergency when the office is closed?
Here are some simple things you can do at home to temporarily handle an emergency:
Lost separators or spacers
Some patients may lose a separator or spacer during their treatment. If your separator falls out within 24 hours of your banding appointment, plan to come to our office 20 minutes early for your scheduled banding appointment. Let the receptionist know that your separator fell out and that you came in early to have it replaced. We will replace the separator 20 minutes before your appointment and ask you to have a seat back in the reception area. This way we will be able to see you for the banding appointment as scheduled.
* If your separator falls out 2 or more days before your banding appointment, please call the office. We will probably want you to come in to replace the separator as soon as possible.
Loose brackets or bands
If a bracket becomes loose but it is not bothering you it is best to leave it alone and call the office for an appointment to repair it as soon as possible.
Sometimes discomfort caused by a wire on your braces can be resolved by moving the wire away from the irritated area with a cotton swab or pencil eraser.
If your archwire has "shifted" and is poking you in the back of the mouth, try shifting it back around with tweezers. Grab the wire in the front and pulling it around or by using a pencil eraser end at the back of the wire to push it around.
If the wire will not move try covering the end of it with a small amount of wax.
You can also use wax to stop a loose bracket from moving on the archwire by sliding the bracket towards another bracket and using the wax to “adhere” it to a bracket that is not loose.
If you need to cut a painful poking wire over the weekend or while out of town, you can cut it with fingernail clippers or fine wire cutter that have been washed and sanitized in alcohol.
Please call our office the next business day so that we may schedule an appointment for you to make any necessary repairs.
Mouth irritations or sores caused by poking wires
Use warm salt-water rinses 3 to 4 times a day for several days to help with any irritation.
What to do if you have discomfort with orthodontic treatment
Most orthodontic patients experience some soreness or discomfort the first week after their braces are placed. They can also feel discomfort after routine archwire changes or adjustments. Here are a few things you can do to reduce discomfort:
- You may take acetaminophen or other non-aspirin pain relievers while you adjust to your braces.
- Use the Bite Wafer that was given to you at your initial banding appointment. This will help circulate blood flow and allow for faster recovery from soreness. Just place it in your mouth and lightly bite on it as needed.
- Eating soft foods and rinsing with warm salt water during this adjustment time can help with soreness as well.