Most orthodontic patients face a certain level of temporary discomfort at different times. After all, the goal is to move your teeth through solid bone into a position they weren’t originally holding. As a result, a patient might feel aching or soreness after the initial installation of the braces and when they are adjusted. Although this discomfort is expected, there are other times when the unexpected happens. If your discomfort persists or you suffer a physical injury while wearing braces, what can be done?
Severe Issues with Braces
An orthodontic emergency might have obvious symptoms, or the real issue might be hidden from view. Contact your dentist if you experience:
- Sudden swelling or reddening of the mouth or gums,
- Severe, intense pain in the face or mouth,
- Physical injury to the teeth, mouth or jaw.
Some of these symptoms point to infection or an adverse reaction to your orthodontic treatment. If your symptoms are extreme or they appear life-threatening, do not hesitate. Seek your nearest emergency room or call 911. If you feel the situation is tolerable, but still needs examining, please contact the Sacramento area Marconi Dental Group to discuss the symptoms or schedule an emergency appointment.
Less Severe Issues with Braces
An orthodontic injury might be less than severe, but still irritating. If so, please contact our Sacramento emergency dentists so we can determine a proper course of action. For example, here are some circumstances that allow for a temporary fix until you visit us.
- Loose or broken wires, brackets or bands — If the orthodontic equipment is still attached, do not try to remove it. If it causes irritation, apply the orthodontic wax provided by your dentist. If the bracket or band does come off, keep it in a safe, secure container and bring it in with you. And when you call, please give us the details. We will likely have further recommendations for you.
- Missing or poking archwire, bracket or tie. As you wear your braces, the archwire (the wire connecting the brackets on your teeth) might rub against your cheeks or the back of your mouth, causing irritation. Coating it with your orthodontic wax might provide enough relief. If not, you could try maneuvering the wire into a different position with a sterile Q-Tip or pair of tweezers, but again: be careful.
- General pain. Initial discomfort as you and your mouth get accustomed to your orthodontic appliances is normal. Your teeth might even feel “loose” as they move. Over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen and ibuprofen generally alleviate the discomfort. Using a heated cloth or pad on the outside of the jaw might help, and some report rinsing with a mild saltwater solution provides a measure of relief. Eating softer foods during the beginning days of treatment could avoid unnecessary pressure on your teeth and jaw.
As your orthodontic treatment works to bring you a better smile, the Marconi Dental Group wants to monitor the process to make sure it’s as pain-free and successful as possible. If you have any questions or concerns, please call us to discuss the issue, or schedule a consultation with your Sacramento dentist for more detailed information.