The difference between the normal discomfort that comes from time to time with wearing braces, and a true orthodontic emergency, is not always totally clear to everyone. Here, we’ll shed some light on the issue, and let you know what to do if you do have an emergency.
First, it will help to know what to expect, in terms of pain and soreness, as a normal part of your orthodontic treatment.
Orthodontic treatment is not typically painful, but there are instances throughout treatment where your mouth, teeth, and jaw may feel sore, tender, or painful.
This usually happens when the braces are first applied. Your teeth and mouth will need some time to adjust to your braces, so during the days following your braces application, you may find that your teeth feel tender, and that the new braces irritate the inside of your cheek and lips.
Don’t worry! This may be uncomfortable for a while, but your mouth will adjust, and you be feeling normal again in no time.
Another instance where you may feel some discomfort is after an adjustment appointment (or, if you’re using Invisalign, after you change from your previous aligners to the next set).
Your teeth may feel a bit sore for a little while after this, because they’ll need to adjust to the new position and pressure of the braces. Again, this will pass quite soon.
If you are feeling this kind of soreness, it is not an emergency. To deal with this normal soreness, take an over-the-counter pain killer, or flush your mouth out with a salt water wash. Or, you can ice your face a bit to soothe any inflammation.
You may also find that as your teeth move, your wires may start to poke the inside of your cheek. If this happens, use a blunt object to get it out of the way temporarily, and then make an appointment with us, so we can clip off the excess wire.
So what is an orthodontic emergency?
Orthodontic emergencies are either
- when you’re feeling an intense amount of pain that can’t be quelled with a common painkiller, ice, or salt water wash, or
- if your braces and orthodontic appliance has broken, or if a wire is jabbing painfully into your cheek, and you can’t temporarily fix it yourself.
If you find yourself in either of these situations, please call our practice as soon as possible, and we’ll do our best to get you a same-day appointment.
In the meantime, ice the affected area if it’s painful. And if any parts of your orthodontic appliance or braces has come off try to find it, and bring it along with you to your appointment.