The following information is intended to offer patients information and temporary solutions to some of the most common orthodontic problems encountered by our patients. If you’re not able to contact our office, this information is designed to help you get comfortable until you can. If you’re experiencing severe pain however, you should consult Dr Semaan, your dentist, or your physician as soon as possible.
While we have labelled them ‘emergencies’, it’s quite uncommon for both Invisalign and Insignia braces patients to have an emergency and if they do, it’s typically pretty mild. In most cases, the following outlines specific situations or uncomfortable problems that patients may experience which can take several days or even weeks to be resolved. In any case, these situations can cause discomfort despite being resolved fairly easily.
Due to the pressure applied to your teeth in the initial stages of orthodontic treatment, all patients will experience some pain and discomfort. Despite this, some patients find the pain worse than others so it’s difficult to predict before treatment begins. Most patients will experience pain and discomfort 4-6 hours after their braces were put on and after their adjustment appointments. It’s important to keep in mind that this pain will gradually worsen over the next few days, however it will diminish within 3-5 days.
Consequently, our orthodontists recommend patients take anti-inflammatory or pain medication (which can be purchased over-the-counter) before and after their adjustment appointments. You’ll be able to manage the pain much better when the medication is in your system when the pain sets in.
After braces have initially been fixed to your teeth, the brackets tend to feel rough against your tongue, lips, and cheeks which is completely normal. It takes your mouth several days or even a week to develop callous tissue as it adjusts to your new braces. During the first few days, it’s recommended to apply orthodontic wax to the areas of your mouth experiencing any pain, but keep in mind that the more wax you use, the longer it will take your mouth to develop callous tissue.
You should also rinse your mouth regularly with a mixture of salt and warm water which will help any minor cuts and mouth sores get better. If you are experiencing a lot of pain, however, you should use pain relief medication such as the braces pain relief gel which was given to you at the beginning of treatment.
Patients who experience dental injuries (mostly from playing sports) find them quite distressing so it’s advised to seek immediate care from you dentist or physician. You’ll be happy to know that in some cases, braces have prevented teeth loss due to the stability they provide. If you’ve just had a dental injury and you’re unsure how severe it is, get in touch with our staff on 07 5593 3733 as soon as possible.
It’s relatively common during the early stages of treatment for the archwire to protrude out the back of your braces. This is normal and is caused by your teeth moving and your archwire having no place to go. All you need to do is apply some orthodontic wax which was given to you at the beginning of treatment. Firstly, dry the wire with a paper towel and then roll up some wax into a ball. Place the wax on the end of the poking wire which will smooth the area and prevent the wire from getting caught on your mouth.
When undergoing orthodontic treatment such as Insignia braces, it’s vital that you clean your mouth regularly to remove any food debris and plaque along with attending regular dental check-ups and cleaning. Swollen gums normally results from poor oral hygiene as cleaning your mouth is more difficult when wearing braces. If you notice you have swollen gums, get in touch with your family dentist for a check-up. You may have food debris stuck under a band or bracket so brush your teeth thoroughly and gently use dental floss to see if you can remove it. In the meantime, rinse your mouth with warm, salty water which may ease the discomfort.
If you notice that your gums bleed, mainly when flossing, then it’s most likely resulting from poor oral hygiene. Most people who discover their gums bleeding avoid flossing altogether, however this only makes matters worse. It’s vital that you try to reduce the inflammation and bleeding through gentle brushing and flossing. If you’re unable to get your gums to stop bleeding with time, contact your dentist for an appointment.
While broken or loose brackets can be very annoying, they aren’t generally considered to be an urgent problem. If this happens, contact our staff for further directions. If a bracket breaks then it’s normally still attached to the wire which will prevent you from swallowing it. If the bracket is spinning and moving around your mouth, just apply some orthodontic wax to the bracket to stop it from spinning. In the unlikely event that the bracket comes off altogether, put the bracket in a zip-lock bag and bring it to your next appointment.
Always contact our staff when you have a broken or loose bracket because you may need to reschedule or arrive earlier for your next appointment which will give us time to fix the bracket.
If a band (ring around the back teeth) comes loose, you’ll be in no immediate harm however it’s best to get in contact with us as soon as you become aware. Each band is usually connected to the tooth with an adhesive that seals the inner portion of the band from plaque and saliva. If the band is left loose for too long, the build-up of bacteria can damage the surface of your tooth.
The only way to keep your teeth straight after treatment is retention, so if your retainer gets lost or broken, get in contact with us so we can advise you on how soon it needs to be replaced. Some situations are more urgent than others and there’s a number of variables which need to be considered. For example, if you just had your braces removed, it’s vital that you get a replacement retainer as soon as possible because your teeth are at a greater risk of relapsing. Also, some teeth movements are more susceptible than others. Gaps between your front upper teeth are more likely to relapse than others, so it’s best to contact us straight away so we can give you further instructions.
A widening plate is an appliance placed under the roof of the mouth which widens a patients’ teeth and upper jaw. If the widening plate comes loose or isn’t in the correct position, not only will it be uncomfortable but you may lose any corrections you’ve achieved with the appliance thus far. If this happens, get in touch with our staff so we can advise you on how soon you need to see the orthodontist to get the appliance repaired.
Although it’s very uncommon, there have been patients in the past that have accidentally swallowed braces or other appliances during treatment. Both brackets and bands are attached to the archwire of you braces so even if they break, they generally can’t be swallowed. In the unlikely event that you swallow any brackets or other appliances, get in touch with your orthodontist or physician for advice. In most cases, brackets and appliances can be passed without difficulty.
In the event that one of your rubber spacers falls out, simply take two pieces of dental floss and thread them through the spacer. You’ll need to stretch the spacer by pulling on both pieces of floss and slide the spacer back and forth between the teeth where it was initially attached. Once you’ve got the bottom half of the spacer under the tight spot between your teeth, let go of the floss and the spacer should fit back properly. If you can’t manage to get the spacer back between your teeth, phone our staff to make an appointment. You can generally avoid losing spacers by not eating sticky foods and not flossing between the teeth that has the spacers.
Losing a set of aligners is considered an ‘emergency’ so you’ll need to phone our staff immediately for further instructions. Given that your teeth are in the process of moving, it’s vital that we get them back on track as soon as possible. Failing to advise us of your lost aligners can result in prolonging your finish date along with additional charges in some scenarios (from $595). The first thing you should do is use the previous set of aligners if you still have them. If you don’t, move onto the next set of aligners and email us as soon as possible at email@example.com (check if needs to be changed) with the following information:
1. What aligners were lost? (e.g. upper 13)
2. The length of time you were wearing these aligners? (e.g. 2 days full-time)
3. What are the previous and next set of aligners?
When wearing either your previous or next set of aligners, you’ll need to use your chewie’s more frequently (i.e. 3 times every day, 2 minutes for each area).
Sometimes we’ll ask you to take photos of your teeth and send them through to us. This can often be difficult without the help of someone else, as we want to clearly check your bite and see as many teeth as possible. When taking photos, bite normally on your back teeth and don’t push your jaws backwards, forwards, or sideways. Additionally, always use the flash when taking photos to ensure the photos are clear. Try to emulate the following examples.
1. Left side: use two fingers to pull your lips to the side and bite down on your back teeth.
2. Right side: use two fingers to pull your lips to the side and bite down on your back teeth.
3. Centre: use two fingers to pull your lips away from your teeth and open your mouth slightly to show the edges of your teeth.
4. Lower: use both index fingers to pull down your lower lip to show all your lower teeth.
5. Upper: use both index fingers to pull up on your upper lip to show all your upper teeth.
6. Centre bite: bite down on your back teeth first then use two fingers to pull your lips away from your teeth.