What to do in emergencies

Fortunately, most orthodontic problems are minor – you can try soothing the symptoms first, then calling for an appointment. But if your braces are broken we need to see you ASAP.

Your dentist is trained to treat a range of dental problems and will in most cases be able to treat the immediate problem. If necessary your orthodontic treatment can be adjusted as required.

Misplaced or poking archwire, bracket or tie

As your teeth start to move, the wire that connects them may begin irritating the back of your mouth or cheeks. You may be able to gently move the wire into a more comfortable position with a cotton bud or tweezers, or mould some orthodontic wax or chewing gum to cover the end and ease the discomfort. Call us if you need advice how best to solve the problem or would like to make an appointment.

Loose or broken brackets, bands or wires

There’s a reason we tell you to be careful with eating sticky toffees or hard foods such as apples and carrots. They can loosen or break your brackets, bands or wires. If you break something don’t wait for your next appointment; contact us to arrange a repair appointment as soon as possible, because if breakages are left too long they can add weeks or months to your treatment.

If the band or bracket is still attached to the wire, leave it as it is but don’t connect the elastics to it. Cover the end with orthodontic wax if it’s irritating the inside of your mouth. Be sure to bring any loose parts with you to the appointment.

General tooth pain or loosening

During treatment your teeth will be moving and this can be accompanied by tenderness, especially for a few days after your braces are fitted or adjusted. There may be times when your teeth feel slightly loose and this is quite normal. You can reduce the discomfort by taking over-the-counter painkillers.

A twice-daily salt water rinse may also help: mix one teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water and rinse for 30 seconds. A warm facecloth placed on the outside of the jaw can also offer some relief.

In emergencies

There are only a few orthodontic or dental emergencies and in any of the three major situations described below you should see your dentist immediately.

  1. Trauma or injury to your teeth, face or mouth
  2. Infection or swelling in your gums, mouth or face
  3. Severe, unmanageable discomfort or pain in your gums, mouth or face

In extreme cases or if you can’t get hold of your dentist you should go to your local A&E.