There's normal, day-to-day discomfort associated with wearing braces, and then there are true orthodontic emergencies. But how do you differentiate the two? We'd like to shed some light on this question here, and let you know what you should do if you do have an emergency.
First, it helps to know what's normal, in terms of pain and soreness, during your orthodontic treatment.
Orthodontic treatment is not usually uncomfortable, but there will be times throughout treatment that your mouth, teeth, or jaw may feel sore, tender, or somewhat painful.
One of these times will likely be when your braces are first applied. It will take your teeth and mouth some time to adjust to the braces; your teeth may feel tender, and the new braces may irritate the inside of your cheek and lips at first.
This will be uncomfortable for a short while, but it won't be long before your mouth grows accustomed to the braces, and you'll feel normal again in no time.
You may also feel some discomfort is after your adjustment appointments (or, if you’re using Invisalign, after you change to the next set of aligners), because your teeth will need to adjust to the new position and pressure of the orthodontic appliance. Again, this will pass fairly quickly.
These kinds of soreness are not an emergency.
To deal with this normal soreness, take an over-the-counter pain killer, or swish with a salt water rinse. You can also ice your face a bit to bring down any inflammation.
As your teeth move, your wires may start to poke the inside of your cheek. To remedy this, use a blunt object (like a spoon) to get the wire out of the way temporarily. Then make an appointment with us, and we will can clip off the excess wire, and make the necessary adjustments.
So what is an orthodontic emergency?
Orthodontic emergencies are either
- when you’re in an intense amount of pain that can’t be quelled using the methods described above, or
- if your orthodontic appliance or braces are broken, or if a wire is jabbing painfully into your cheek, and you can’t temporarily fix it yourself.
Please call our practice as soon as possible if you experience either of these situations, and we’ll get you a same-day appointment.
In the meantime, ice the affected area. If part of your orthodontic appliance or braces has broken off, try to find it, and bring it along with you to your appointment.