Emergency/First Aid Orthodontics
What to Do in Case of Emergency
Contact our office if you break or loosen any of your appliances. Please do not come directly to the office – by calling us during normal business hours, you will allow us to create a time to see you. Even if you have a regular appointment scheduled, call us to notify us if you need an appliance repaired.
Loose Brackets or Bands
Contact our office for advice if a bracket or wire is loosened. The bracket may need to be re-fitted as soon as possible. You may have a situation that requires cutting a wire or sliding a bracket off a wire at night or over the weekend. If you need to cut a wire in case of emergency, you may use fingernail clippers that have been washed and sterilized in alcohol. Please call our office the next business day so that we may schedule an appointment for you.
Sometimes, discomfort caused by a wire on your braces can be resolved by moving the wire away from the irritated area with a cotton swab or eraser. If the wire will not move, try covering the end of it with a small piece of cotton or a small amount of wax. If the wire is painful, you can cut it with nail clippers or scissors that have been washed and sterilized in alcohol. If you cannot resolve the wire irritation, contact our office for an appointment.
Most patients lose a separator during their treatment. Do not worry about losing a separator, but contact our office to see if it needs to be replaced.
Discomfort with Orthodontic Treatment
During the first week after your braces are in place and routine adjustments are complete, you will likely feel some pain, soreness, or discomfort. You may take an over-the-counter pain reliever or other non-aspirin pain relievers while you adjust to your new braces. A warm wash cloth or heating pad may reduce the soreness in your jaws.
The Herbst appliance is used to correct the front-to-back relationship of the upper and lower jaws. The rod and tube, affectionately known as the “shock absorber”, actually connects the upper and lower jaws. This really does not interfere with the opening and closing of your mouth or with eating. You might find that side-to-side movement is somewhat restricted, but this has been improved with the new telescoping Herbst that you have.
Things to get used to:
- The bottom screws will initially irritate the lip and cheek area, which will toughen up like a callous in a few days. You can use a topical product such as Orabase on the inside of the lip and cheek where it is sore, and wax can be placed over the screws to make them smoother. On rare occasions, it may be necessary for us to give you cotton rolls, which are placed inside your cheek to prevent contact with the screws.
- When the appliance is placed, the lower jaw is brought forward and the back teeth do not fit together like they did prior to the placement of the appliance. Those teeth will make contact so that you can chew normally in about four to six weeks. NOTE: It will be difficult to eat for a few days.
- The teeth may be sore when the Herbst appliance is placed, but soreness will disappear in a few days.
Possible but not Probable Problems:
- Occasionally, a screw may come loose causing the telescoping mechanism to dangle in your mouth. If this causes pain, remove the loose part, call our office, and we will replace the parts as needed. If this happens when we are out of the office, you can wait until the next business day to call even if it occurs on the weekend, provided you are comfortable.
- If you open extremely wide, the appliance cannot come apart since it telescopes; however, you could break the cement bond or telescopes. Please be sure not to play with the appliance by constantly opening to the maximum limit and moving the jaw side to side since this will fatigue the appliance. If you are having any problems with the appliance, please call the office.
- If any part of your Herbst appliance becomes loose, call our office to let us know on the next business day provided you are comfortable.
- The Herbst appliance is the fastest, and we feel the best, appliance to correct your bite problem. It is fully contained within your mouth and does not show. Anytime something new is placed in the mouth, it takes time to adjust. Please be patient during the adjustment period; it will be over before you know it.