Major Orthodontic Emergencies
Emergencies Call: (512) 327-8818 If the office is closed you will be given instructions on how to reach Dr. Kunik or leave a call back message for the Orthodontic Technician on call.
True orthodontic emergencies are very rare, but when they do occur we are available to help you. Call the office when you experience severe pain or when you have a painful appliance problem that you can't take care of yourself. We'll be able to schedule an appointment to resolve the problem.
Direct Injury to Mouth or Teeth
Following a direct injury to the mouth or teeth, whether undergoing orthodontic care or not, you should see your primary care dentist as soon as possible. Usually an x-ray of the involved tooth or teeth is needed to determine the extent of the injury. If a tooth has been fractured or broken, it is best to contact your primary care dentist first. If orthodontic appliances are dislodged or displaced, you will need to contact us after the damaged teeth are repaired to adjust the appliance.
Infected Teeth and Swelling
Teeth may become infected during orthodontic treatment. This is usually unrelated to your orthodontic treatment. If you have an infected tooth or any type of swelling in the facial region, contact your primary care dentist first. After the problem is resolved, please call our office so we may determine if any changes in orthodontic treatment are necessary.
Minor Orthodontic Emergencies
During the course of treatment you may discover that you have loose or broken braces. You may also notice that the orthodontic wires may shift and begin irritating your lips or cheeks. Below is a list of common problems and how they may be remedied at home. If you have a problem that you cannot fix call our office and we will give you advice on how to solve the problem yourself or schedule an appointment for you to come into the office to address the issue.
Loose or Broken Parts
If the main wire or a bracket comes loose and you feel like you must cut the wire or slide a bracket off the wire, you may use fingernail clippers that have been washed and sterilized in alcohol. Please call our office to schedule a repair appointment.
Eating hard or sticky foods can loosen a band. This is generally not an emergency unless it is associated with pain or discomfort. You can call the office to see if you need a special appointment to have the band reconnected or if it can be done at your regularly scheduled appointment time.
Long Poking Archwire
Using a pencil eraser, push the poking wire down or place wax on it to alleviate the discomfort. You can also try to use a small fingernail clipper to reduce the length of the wire. Before putting clippers or scissors inside your mouth, make sure you clean them with sterilized alcohol.
Wire Out of Slot
Using a tweezer or pencil eraser try to push the wire back into place. If doing this and using wax doesn't help, as a last resort use a small fingernail clipper to clip the wire behind the last tooth to which it is securely attached. Before putting clippers or scissors inside your mouth, make sure you clean them with sterilized alcohol.
Poking Metal Wire Tie
You can try to push the wire back into place by using the end of a pencil eraser. If that is not possible, you can place wax on the area causing the irritation until you can schedule a repair appointment.
Lost Elastic (rubber band)
If an elastic tie falls off you will need to schedule an appointment to have it replaced.
Tooth Discomfort or Sores Inside Mouth
You may notice soreness in your mouth and your teeth may be sensitive to biting pressure. This can happen because your lips and cheeks are not yet used to rubbing against your orthodontic appliance.
Rinsing your mouth with a warm salt-water mouthwash by dissolving one teaspoonful of salt in 8 ounces of warm water, and rinsing your mouth vigorously. You can also place Colgate Orabase (available at your local pharmacy) on the affected area. For pain that is more severe, take aspirin or whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain. Placing a small amount of wax or cotton on the area of the braces that is causing the sore or ulceration may provide relief to the irritation. Over time, the inside of your mouth will get tougher and the sores will dissipate. If the sore or ulceration does not improve or gets worse, please tell us at your next visit so we can examine it.