Be Ready for Anything
What to Do in Case of Emergency
Fortunately, orthodontic emergencies are rare, but we want you to be prepared for anything that comes your way!
How to Care for Orthodontic Emergencies
Most orthodontic issues can be handled safely from home until your next appointment with Dr. Laidlaw. After alleviating your discomfort, contact our office and let us know what’s going on. We’ll schedule a time to repair the issue and prevent any further problems from developing.
You may experience some slight soreness and teeth sensitivity when your braces are first applied and following adjustment appointments. This can last up to two weeks for some adult patients.
Here are some tips to help alleviate soreness:
- Stick to a soft diet until it doesn’t hurt to chew
- Rinse your mouth with warm salt water to relieve sore spots (1 tsp. salt with 8 oz. warm water)
- For severe discomfort, take Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or what you typically take for headaches
Your lips, cheeks, and tongue may become irritated for one to two weeks as they learn a new posture and become accustomed to the surface of the braces or aligner attachments. We’ll show you how to apply orthodontic wax to help with this.
Use a pencil eraser to push the poking wire down or place wax on it so that it is no longer irritating your mouth.
This can happen when you eat hard or sticky foods that damage the adhesive bond of the bracket to the tooth. It isn’t an emergency and can be handled with ease!
- If your bracket or band is still attached to the wire, leave it in place and apply wax for comfort, as needed.
- If the bracket or band can be easily removed, place it in an envelope and bring it to your next appointment.
- If removable elastics are a part of your treatment stop wearing them until we can rebond the loose bracket at your next appointment.
- If you have a chain on your braces (all the colors are connected), please call our office to see if we can move your appointment to a sooner date to either remove the chain or rebond the bracket.
- If you knock off the last bracket on your arch and the wire is now poking out, put orthodontic wax over the end of the wire.
- Give us a call during business hours and we’ll get you in as soon as possible to clip the wire or rebond the bracket, depending on time availability.
Broken brackets can cause discomfort and slow down your treatment progress if it happens repeatedly. This is why it is important to avoid foods or habits that can break or loosen braces.
Fortunately, most patients get through their entire treatment without ever having a broken bracket!
If you have a loose wire, use a pair of sanitized tweezers or needle-nosed pliers to gently put your wire back in place. You can use a piece of dental floss in place of the missing colored o-ring to tie the loose wire into place.
If you can’t put the wire into a comfortable position and wax doesn’t provide relief, as a last resort, you can use sanitized finger- or toenail clippers or wire cutter to clip the wire behind the last tooth it is securely fastened to.
This wire can then be pulled out. If the end of the wire is still sharp, place wax on it. Call our office when we are open to schedule an appointment to have the wire replaced.
It will take some time for your teeth to adjust to the new force from your headgear. You may also have an adjustment period, specifically when falling asleep.
It’s important to wear your headgear as instructed by Dr. Laidlaw to avoid additional discomfort. This includes wearing your headgear the correct number of hours and sleeping on your back to avoid bending the facebow.
- If the facebow (metal piece) is bent, please call our office for assistance and do not wear it until we can repair it at your next visit.
- If a metal band becomes loose, do not wear the headgear until your next visit.
Neither of these is an emergency, so you can wait until we are open to contact us. Additionally, the headgear should hurt less the more you wear it, so be sure you get in the prescribed number of hours!
You can also take Tylenol or Advil for a few nights to help lessen the discomfort of your new headgear until you adjust.
If one of your attachments comes off, you don’t need to worry! We have over-engineered the number and location of attachments for your treatment.
Your teeth will continue to move as planned even with multiple attachments missing. Just let us know that you may have lost some at your next appointment, and Dr. Laidlaw can evaluate if we need to replace them.
If you or your child is having trouble with your appliance and you are unable to take care of the problem at home, don’t worry! We’re here for you.
We always have a doctor or trained clinical assistant on-call after hours and on weekends in case of an emergency that can’t wait until our normal office hours.
- You can reach our ON-CALL emergency operator by calling (503) 721-4447.
- Please understand that there will be a $45 fee for an after-hours visit.
- We are happy to bill your insurance for this visit.
- Some plans will totally or partially cover this visit and some will not.
- If it is not covered, the appointment fee can be added to your existing contract with our office.
- Note that the doctor or assistant will not be able to check your insurance benefits after hours or on the weekend to verify what part of the fee will be covered by your insurance.