Listed here are some of the more common problems and some possible solutions to deal with the situation on a temporary basis until you can get in touch with us for an emergency appointment.
Please also refer to our current patient resource centre before contact our after hours mobile number as charges may apply.
After hour help
For after hours problems, please first check and read through the issues and solutions provided below to see if you can answer your question here. If you can’t find relief, please text your urgent concern to 0402 407 114. If this results in an after hour office visit, charges may apply.
Pain and discomfort is a normal part of all orthodontic treatment. For Braces patients, the pain tends to occur about 4-6 hours after the braces are put on and/or after an adjustment appointment. Over the next day or two, the pain will progressively become worse. Then, after days 3-5, the pain will begin to subside. Dr Semaan recommends over the counter pain or anti-inflammatory medication just prior to and after the adjustment appointments if you or your child find the discomfort intolerable. This allows the medication to already be in the system before the pain begins, improving the effectiveness.
Braces have a tendency to feel rough against the cheeks, lips, and tongue, especially soon after the braces are put on. This will sometimes lead to soreness and cause discomfort. The tissues will develop a callous over time, so this becomes less of a problem while treatment progresses. In the initial stages of treatment, wax can be used in areas that are particularly painful. However, limiting the use of wax will help you or your child build up the callus tissues. Temporary pain relief can also be obtained with topical anaesthetics like the brace relief gel provided at the beginning of treatment. For any minor cuts or sores on the lips, cheeks or tongue, rinse your mouth with a mixture of warm water and a teaspoon of salt.
Many times as the teeth move in the early phase of treatment, the wire used to straighten the teeth or close gaps, has no place to go except out the back of the braces. Fortunately, most times this can be handled at home very simply with some orthodontic wax provided to you at the beginning of treatment. It is important to try and dry the area first (with a paper towel), then roll up a piece of wax into a ball warming the wax between your hands prior to placement. Place the ball of wax into the area of the poking wire. The wax will smooth the area and keep the inside of the mouth from getting caught on the end.
It is very important to keep your teeth and gums free of plaque and food debris during orthodontic treatment and have regular dental check-ups and cleans by your family dentist. Poor oral hygiene may result in swollen and bleeding gum tissue. Please contact your family dentist should you experience swollen gums. Gentle and thorough brushing, rinsing with warm salt water and mouthwash will help temporarily before you see your dentist. Also, using dental floss to check the swollen area to see if food debris may be trapped under a band or bracket is helpful.
Bleeding of gums indicates that the gums are swollen and more than likely due to poor oral hygiene. Many people find that their gums bleed when they floss, so they avoid flossing. This usually just makes it worse. Gentle brushing and consistent flossing can help reduce gum inflammation and bleeding. If it does not, contact your dentist for check-up.
Broken or loose braces are generally not considered an urgent problem in most cases. There are times when a loose brace may cause some problems, however, so it is best to call the office when the problem occurs and ask for Dr Semaan’s recommendation. When a bracket comes off of a tooth, it is still normally attached to the wire. This will prevent the bracket from being swallowed, but it may move or spin around on the wire. If this is a problem for the patient, a little wax pressed against the bracket will keep it from moving around. If the bracket comes off, keep it in a zip lock bag ready for your next appointment.
Contact the office and let us know as we may need to have you come in sooner or allow more time to fix the bracket at your next appointment. In some cases, broken brackets can delay treatment so it is important to let the office know as soon as you can.
When a band (ring around the back teeth) comes loose, the patient is in no immediate harm. However, the band is normally cemented on the tooth with an adhesive that seals the inner portion of the band from saliva and plaque. If the band is left loose for too long it can allow bacteria to build up and damage the surface of the tooth. It is recommended that you contact the office as soon as you are aware of it.
We want to keep your teeth straight and retention is the only way. There are a number of variables that determine whether this is an urgent situation or not. For example, if you have recently finished your Invisalign aligner treatment or had your braces have recently been removed, there is a greater chance that the teeth will shift and move if a retainer is not replaced relatively quickly. Also, certain types of tooth movements may have a greater tendency for relapse than others. For example, a space between the upper front teeth may have a greater tendency to reopen in some patients, so it may be important to replace the retainer sooner. If a patient has been out of braces for a long period of time, and the teeth are in a relatively stable position, the chance of significant shifting may be low.
If you’re a part of the Clear Protect Club simply place an order for a replacement at no cost by contacting the office. All others know that an additional cost may be incurred for a replacement clear retainer.
A widening plate or RPE is a phase 1 treatment appliance used under the roof of a patient’s mouth to help widen the upper jaw and teeth. If the appliance becomes loose, it may be more urgent to see the orthodontist, since the appliance may become quite uncomfortable for the patient. Also, if the appliance is not in its proper position, or if it falls out completely, the correction that has already been achieved may be lost. It would be best to call the office and follow Dr Semaan’s recommendations.
Swallowing braces or other appliances used during orthodontic treatment tends to occur relatively infrequently. This is because the braces and bands are normally still attached to the wire if they become loosened from a tooth. However, if it does occur, it is best to seek advice from Dr Semaan right away. Fortunately, orthodontic appliances are rather small and the patient will usually pass them without difficulty.
In case a rubber spacer falls out, take two pieces of dental floss and insert them through the spacer. Pull on both pieces of floss to stretch the spacer, then slide the spacer back and forth between the two teeth where it belongs. Once the bottom half of the spacer slips under the tight spot between the teeth, release and remove the floss and the spacer will fit back properly. If you cannot place the spacers back in your mouth, please call the office for an appointment. You can usually avoid losing spacers by avoiding sticky foods and temporarily avoiding flossing between the teeth that have the spacers.
- What aligner you lost. (i.e upper 13)
- How long you wore the aligner before losing it. (i.e 3 days full-time)
- What aligner you moved onto (either the previous/next)