Minor Orthodontic Emergency Care

Caring For Tooth Pain, Damaged Braces & More

Kalamazoo Orthodontics is proud to treat patients in Kalamazoo, Portage, Paw Paw, & Michigan’s surrounding areas. True orthodontic emergencies are exceptionally rare, and our patients almost never have to deal with anything more than mild discomfort. Orthodontic appliances move your teeth, and there is sometimes a light pressure, but this usually goes away faster than you would expect.

Whether you’re experiencing soreness, or something more serious, we can help you determine the best action to take, and whether or not you should seek medical help. Read on to learn some tips and tricks to ensure the most comfortable experience possible!

Major Dental Emergency Care

As we mentioned, there are only a few true orthodontic (or dental) emergencies. In any of the following situations, you should seek help as soon as possible:

  • Trauma or Injury – If a tooth is broken, chipped, or loose, or your lip or cheek has been punctured or is bleeding heavily, this likely needs medical attention.
  • Infection or Swelling – If your face or mouth, including gums, appears to be infected or has significant swelling, you should seek medical help.
  • Severe Discomfort or Unmanageable Pain – Soreness is normal, but intense pain in these areas may indicate a more serious problem and should be examined.

Aches, Pains & Minor Troubles

Fortunately, the vast majority of orthodontic problems are minor. Usually you can soothe the immediate cause of the discomfort and call our office to schedule an appointment so that we have sufficient time to get you taken care of. Here are a few of the more common orthodontic problems, along with some tips on what you can do to relieve them at home:

What To Do When Brackets, Bands or Wires Are Loose or Broken

Orthodontics appliances may become detached or damaged by eating hard, sticky candy or food. If a band or bracket is still attached to the wire, leave it as is — but don't connect any elastics to it. If the piece has come off, save it, otherwise you can cover it with orthodontic wax to prevent it from irritating the inside of your mouth. In either case, call our office to let us know what happened, and we will schedule a visit. Be sure to bring any loose parts with you to the appointment.

How To Stop Braces’ Wires & Ties From Poking You

As your teeth shift, the wire that connects them – called an archwire – may begin poking near the back of the mouth or irritating your cheeks. You can try moving the wire into a better position with a Q-Tip. If the wire won't move, you may be able to cut the end off with a nail clipper sterilized in alcohol, but please call our office for our guidance or instructions first. You can also try to use tweezers to carefully move the misplaced wire or tie that's causing problems.

General tooth pain or loosening

Teeth generally become slightly loosened during orthodontic treatment, and that shows they're successfully moving! Sometimes this movement is accompanied by mild tenderness, especially following placement or adjustment of your braces. For minor soreness, you can use your regular over-the-counter pain reliever as directed by your doctor. A twice-a-day salt-water rinse may also help, made by mixing one teaspoon of salt in an 8-ounce glass of warm water. Rinse for 30 seconds at a time, twice a day to help reduce swelling and pain. A warm washcloth or heating pad placed on the outside of the jaw can also offer some relief.

Contact Kalamazoo Orthodontics Today!

If you’re experiencing pain or discomfort, we hope these tips will help you feel more comfortable. For more questions or information, call or email our offices, and a team member will be happy to assist you, or you can schedule an appointment with Dr. Bowman. We look forward seeing your beautiful smile!