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How to Recognize an Orthodontic Emergency

You can have an orthodontic emergency at any time. But, it can be hard to tell the difference between a problem that can wait a couple of days to be attended to, or an actual emergency situation. In this blog, our Langley orthodontists share some ways you can tell if you are experiencing an orthodontic emergency.

Is This Normal Pain?

It's normal to experience a little bit of discomfort during your orthodontic treatment, and knowing what you can expect in terms of pain can help you identify an orthodontic emergency if you happen to have one.

It's completely normal for orthodontic patients to periodically have some discomfort or pain during their treatment. As your teeth are shifting to their proper positions, your mouth, teeth, and jaw are bound to feel a little sore at times.

Normal Orthodontic Discomfort vs Pain

It's very common to feel pain or discomfort when your braces are first fitted and you start your treatment. Your mouth requires a bit of time to get accustomed to your new braces or dental appliance. Plan on your teeth feeling a bit tender when you first get your braces, and the wires and brackets might irritate the inside of your mouth a little. While this is uncomfortable, it shouldn't last long. Over the course of several days, your mouth will gradually get used to your braces, and you'll start feeling normal again.

If you're having pain as a result of irritation to your lips and cheeks, place a ball of orthodontic wax over the troublesome bracket to get some relief instantly.

Following an adjustment appointment, or when you change to your next set of aligners, you will probably feel some discomfort. Your mouth simply needs time to adjust to the new position of your teeth and the pressure from braces or aligners, but this discomfort should also pass fairly quickly.

Am I Having an Orthodontic Emergency?

NOT an Orthodontic Emergency

  • Mild Pain or Inflammation - The examples of pain and discomfort mentioned above, are completely normal and should be expected when you start having your teeth straightened. Rinsing your mouth with saltwater, taking an over-the-counter pain killer, or applying orthodontic wax to an irritating bracket or wire should help to alleviate your discomfort. Applying ice to your face could also help to ease any inflammation.
  • Poking Scratching Wires - As your teeth gradually shift towards their new positions your wires may start to poke the inside of your cheek. To help get the irritating wire out of the way and relieve the irritation, use a blunt object, such as a spoon, to push it down temporarily, then contact your orthodontist to book an appointment to have the excess wire clipped off.

Yes! This Is an Orthodontic Emergency!

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

  • Intense Pain - Intense pain that can’t be dispelled using the methods described above, is an orthodontic emergency. Contact your orthodontist straight away to book an emergency appointment. Severe pain is never normal!
  • A Broken Appliance - If your braces (or other orthodontic appliance) breaks, or if there is a wire painfully jabbing into your cheek, and you can’t fix it temporarily on your own contact your orthodontic office immediately to schedule an emergency appointment.

Once you have contacted your orthodontist's office and booked your emergency appointment, apply ice to the painful area to help soothe pain, or if a piece of your braces has broken off try to find it, and bring it to your appointment.

Contact our orthodontists in Langley immediately if you are having an orthodontic emergency!

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