Orthodontic Emergencies – What to Do
If you have committed to a course of orthodontic therapy to resolve problems with teeth and jaw alignment, your dental practitioner has walked you through the process, what to expect and how to care for your new braces. Since not every mouth is the same, you may have attachments and other appliances that work in conjunction with your braces such as head gear or elastics. Like anything, orthodontics are subject to breakage if they are not treated with appropriate care or if they endure trauma. You’d love for your dentist to be available around the clock to help with potential dental emergencies, but the reality is that dentists are not readily available to you when camping, travelling or outside of regular office hours. Most orthodontic emergencies can be mitigated at home until you are able to see your emergency dentist in Edmonton. Here’s what you need to know about handling orthodontic emergencies until you can get in to see your dentist.
It might not be a true orthodontic emergency, but it can certainly feel like one to those enduring it! The days after having an orthodontic adjustment can bring with them pain that is difficult to ignore. This is your body’s natural response to the new heavier tension placed upon your teeth abruptly and consistently until your tooth ligaments adjust and respond. If adjustments are consistently painful beyond a level of pain that you consider to be reasonable every 4 to 10 weeks, we recommend speaking with your dental professional at your next adjustment to discuss making changes to the degree and frequency of the periodic adjustments. A more conservative adjustment made more often may be all you need to alleviate the level of discomfort that you feel, but that doesn’t address the pain you may be feeling right now.
Treatment of Post-Adjustment Pain
Since you are suffering from an inflammatory response, you’ll want to reach for over-the-counter medications that contain anti inflammatory medications such as the ibuprofen found in Advil. If you aren’t sure which medication to use, or which will work best, a quick visit to any local pharmacy will put you in touch with a pharmacist who can discuss your discomfort with you and recommend the right medication for your needs. Just because over-the-counter drugs are readily available without a prescription, though, don’t go thinking that you can take them like candies. The truth is, over the counter medications like Advil or Tylenol can pose health risks when they are not taken in the right dose and frequency. Be sure to read your labels and always keep medications away from possible reach of children and pets.
When you are experiencing pain from an adjustment, anti inflammatory medications may help to control the pain when at rest – but chewing might be a different story. Since your teeth are working hard to readjust, put the beef jerky aside for another day and opt for other foods that are soft and that offer a cooling effect. Your excuse for jello consumption is officially here! Jello is cooling and soft to consume, which makes it an enjoyable treat. But other foods like soups (preferably cool ones like gazpacho), frozen yogurt packs and rice offer more sustenance. You may find relief by placing a cold pack on the outside of the cheeks for 10-15 minutes several times a day, or you may find it more effective to hold ice chips in the mouth as they melt to cool the tissues more directly.
Why do My Teeth Hurt After Adjustment?
The reason your teeth are sore after an adjustment is that the pressure placed upon them by the braces actually inflames the tissues and produces lactic acid (the same acid that creates muscle soreness after the gym) whilst minimizing the blood flow that is typically accessible by the teeth. While this is happening, osteoclasts and osteoblasts go about the business of responding to the new demands of the tooth by eroding bone tissue on one side of the tooth, and building it up on the other side to keep the tooth securely positioned in the socket. So, the good news is that sore teeth are a sign that your braces are working, the bad news is that it can come with some discomfort. Depending on your particular circumstances, adjustment pain can decrease over time, or it may remain uncomfortable throughout the process. The trick is to have the right foods on hand to handle it.
My Arch Wire Has Come Loose!
Your wire coming loose is not common, but it can happen. In this case, it is critical to keep the end of the sharp wire from stabbing, scratching or otherwise irritating your mouth. If you are experiencing any of these, you’ll need to handle it at home if you can’t get in to see your dentist right away. Children and adolescents are likely to need help addressing this issue because the position in the mouth can make it difficult to access. In order to keep your tissues safe from the wire, it will need to be clipped. You can accomplish this with the help of standard nail clippers and a tissue to catch the portion of the wire that is being clipped off.
The tissue should catch the piece of wire, but it is crucial for the patient to breathe through the nose and close off the mouth with the tongue to add insurance – we don’t want any of this wire escaping into the airway! Once you have clipped and tossed the offending portion of the wire, you may choose to treat the remaining portion with dental wax if there is any sharpness remaining for your soft tissues to be irritated by. More on dental wax in the following section, but for now, address the immediate concern and make an appointment to see your emergency dentist in Edmonton as soon as possible.
Dental Wax Application for Comfortable Braces
When you had your braces installed, your dentist or orthodontist likely provided you with a small container of dental wax to be used to support your comfort. Can’t find it? Don’t worry. You will more than likely be able to find some in the dental isle of your local drugstore.
Dental wax is intended for use when contact between the parts of your appliance are negatively impacting the tissues around it. These complaints are more prevalent early in your treatment program, but sore spots can occur at any time. Dental wax is safe for consumption, so if you notice you’ve swallowed a piece while eating, you need only concern yourself with replacing it.
To use dental wax, begin by pinching off a small portion of wax with clean hands and roll it into a ball the size of a pea with your fingers. Once you’ve worked your dental wax into a small sphere, pinch it between your thumb and forefinger until it is large enough to cover the dental bracket that you are trying to treat. Place the wax ‘pancake’ onto the offending bracket and press gently to secure it against the front of the bracket. Finally, work the edges of the wax by pressing them to conceal the edges, top and bottom of the bracket.