An orthodontic emergency can strike at any time. That said, it can be difficult to figure out which issues are true orthodontic emergencies and which can wait a day or two to be resolved. Today, our Langley orthodontists explain how to tell if you need an emergency orthodontic appointment.
Some Discomfort is Normal
Mild discomfort is a normal part of any orthodontic treatment, and understanding what to expect in terms of pain can help you to spot an orthodontic emergency if one happens to you.
For orthodontic patients, it's normal to feel some pain or discomfort now and again throughout the treatment process. As your teeth are moving towards their corrected positions, your mouth, teeth, and jaw are bound to feel a little uncomfortable or achy at times.
Discomfort vs Pain
There are certain times when you may feel more discomfort than usual, such as when your braces are first fitted and treatment begins. Try to be patient, your mouth just needs a little time to adjust to your new braces or dental appliance.
Expect your teeth to feel tender when you first get your braces, and the brackets and wires may irritate the inside of your mouth. While we understand that this is uncomfortable, it shouldn't last long. Over the course of a few days, your mouth will typically grow accustomed to your braces, and you should begin feeling normal again.
If you are experiencing pain due to irritation of your cheeks and lips, place a ball of orthodontic wax over the problematic bracket which could provide instant relief.
Right after an adjustment appointment, or when you change to your next set of aligners, you are also likely to feel some discomfort. Your mouth needs time to adjust to the new position of your teeth and the pressure from braces or aligners, but this discomfort should also pass relatively quickly.
These are NOT Orthodontic Emergencies
- Mild Pain or Inflammation - The examples of pain and discomfort mentioned above, are normal and should be expected when you are undergoing orthodontic treatment. Rinsing with salt water, taking an over-the-counter pain killer, or applying orthodontic wax to a problematic bracket or wire should help to relieve your discomfort. Applying ice to your face can also help to soothe any inflammation you may be experiencing.
- Poking or Scratching Wires - As your teeth shift towards their new positions your wires may start to poke the inside of your cheek which can hurt. To help get the poking wire out of the way and relieve the irritation, use a blunt object, such as a spoon, to push it down temporarily, then contact your orthodontist to book an appointment to have the excess wire clipped off. Placing a ball of orthodontic wax over the wire may be helpful.
Yes! This IS an Orthodontic Emergency
Now that you know what isn't an orthodontic emergency, here are a few examples of issues that are considered to be emergencies:
- Intense Pain - Intense pain that cannot be dispelled using the methods described above, is an orthodontic emergency! Contact your orthodontist straight away to book an emergency appointment. Severe pain is never normal!
- A Broken Appliance - If your braces (or other orthodontic appliance) have broken, or if a wire is jabbing painfully into your cheek and you can’t temporarily fix it yourself contact your orthodontic office right away to schedule an emergency appointment.
After you have contacted your orthodontist's office and booked your emergency appointment, apply ice to the painful area to help soothe pain, or if a piece of your braces has broken off try to find it, and bring it to your appointment.