What is considered an orthodontic emergency?

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What is considered an orthodontic emergency?

Even if you really try hard to care for your teeth and braces properly, an orthodontic emergency could happen to you. But what exactly constitutes an orthodontic emergency? Our BC Orthodontics Group member orthodontists explain...

Deciphering Normal Pain, Soreness & Discomfort

Discomfort is a normal part of orthodontic treatment, so knowing what to expect in terms of pain and soreness can really help you to spot when an orthodontic emergency is happening to you.

Most patients undergoing orthodontic treatment report feeling some discomfort periodically throughout their treatment . During your treatment, your mouth, teeth, and jaw may feel sore, tender, or painful at times.

When to Expect Discomfort

Certainly when your braces are first applied you can expect to experience some soreness and discomfort. This is because your teeth and mouth need a little time to adjust to the braces. When you first get your braces you can expect your teeth to feel a little tender, and your braces may irritate the delicate soft tissues inside your mouth. 

We understand that this may be uncomfortable for awhile, but your mouth will gradually grow accustomed to the braces, and you be feeling normal again in no time. If you are experiencing discomfort due to irritation of your cheeks and lips, try applying some orthodontic wax to the bracket causing the issue. Orthodontic wax can offer instant relief of irritation.

It is also normal to experience some discomfort after an adjustment appointment or, after you change to your next set of aligners if you have Invisalign. Again, your teeth may feel sore for a short while after this, because your mouth needs time to adjust to the new position of your teeth, aligners, and pressure of the braces, but it will pass fairly quickly.

Not an Orthodontic Emergency

The types of pain and discomfort mentioned above are completely normal and expected. You can deal with this kind of soreness by taking an over-the-counter pain killer, rinsing with a salt water wash, or applying orthodontic wax to a troublesome bracket or wire. Applying ice your face can also help to soothe inflammation.

As your teeth shift towards their new positions, your wires may start to poke the inside of your cheek. To get the irritating wire out of the way, simply use a blunt object, such as a spoon, to to push it down temporarily, then give us a call to book an appointment to have the excess wire clipped off.

An Orthodontic Emergency

So now that you know what isn't an orthodontic emergency here are a few examples of real orthodontic emergencies: 

  • Intense Pain - If you’re feeling intense pain that can’t be dispelled using the methods described contact your orthodontist right away to schedule an emergency appointment.
  • A Broken Appliance - If your orthodontic appliance or braces have broken, or if a wire is jabbing painfully into your cheek, and you can’t temporarily fix it yourself contact your orthodontic office to schedule an emergency appointment ASAP.

Once you have called your orthodontist's office to schedule your emergency appointment, to sooth pain apply ice to the affected area, or if part of your orthodontic appliance or braces has broken off try to find it, and bring it along to your appointment.

If you have any questions about your orthodontic treatment or think you may have an orthodontic emergency, contact your BC Orthodontics Group member practice to book an emergency orthodontic appointment.

Ready to set off on the path to a new straighter smile? Contact us today.