Recognizing An Orthodontic Emergency

Orthodontic emergencies can happen unexpectedly. However, it can be hard to know if what you are experiencing is an emergency that requires immediate care or is something that can wait a couple of days. Today, our orthodontists in Burnaby, Langley, and North Delta explain how you can recognize an orthodontic emergency.

Is This Normal Pain?

When you are undergoing orthodontic treatment it's normal to experience some discomfort, and when you know what to expect in terms of pain you may be able to identify an orthodontic emergency if you encounter 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.

Pain vs Normal Orthodontic Discomfort

When you first get your braces fitted at the start of your treatment it's very common to experience pain or discomfort. Your mouth needs some time to get used to your new dental appliance or braces. You can count on your teeth feeling a little tender when your braces are first applied, and the wires and brackets may cause a little irritation inside of your mouth. 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 lip and cheek irritation is causing your pain, put a ball of orthodontic wax on top of the wire that is troubling you in order to get instant relief.

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.

Is This 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 salt water, 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 - When your teeth gradually shift into their corrected places your wires might poke the inside of your cheek. Use a blunt object, such as a spoon, to push it down temporarily in order to help get the irritating wire out of the way and soothe the irritation, then call your orthodontist to make an appointment to get the excess wire clipped off.

Yes! You Are Having 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 - If you are feeling intense pain that can’t be alleviated with the methods described above, you are having an orthodontic emergency. Contact your orthodontist straight away to schedule an emergency visit. Severe pain is never normal!
  • A Broken Appliance - Are your braces (or other orthodontic appliance) broken? Or do you have a wire painfully jabbing into your cheek that you can’t temporarily fix on your own? Immediately call your orthodontic office to book an emergency appointment.

After contacting your orthodontist's office and booking your emergency visit, put ice on the painful area to help alleviate your pain, or if a part of your braces has become broken off do your best to find it, and take it with you to your orthodontist's office.

Are you experiencing an orthodontic emergency? Contact our orthodontists in Burnaby, Langley, and North Delta immediately to make an appointment.