Learn How to Ease Discomfort

True orthodontic emergencies are very rare, but when they do occur we are available to you 24/7 via our answering service. As a general rule, you should call the office when you experience severe discomfort or when you have a painful appliance problem that you can't take care of yourself. We will immediately schedule an appointment to resolve the problem.

You might be surprised to learn that you may be able to temporarily solve many problems yourself until you schedule an appointment with our office. After alleviating your discomfort, it is very important that you still call our office as soon as possible to schedule a time to repair the problem. Allowing your appliance to remain damaged for an extended period of time may result in disruptions and delayed treatment.

Dr. Cardarelli working at the lab

Dr. Cardarelli working at the lab

General Soreness

It is normal to experience discomfort of the teeth and gums from certain aspects of your orthodontic care. When you get your braces on and following each adjustment, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. Usually there are two types of initial soreness when the braces are placed:

Soreness of the Teeth

The newer wires that we use can be softened with cold temperatures. Many patients find that popsicles ice cream or cold drinks ease the tension on the wires and relieve the soreness. This should only be necessary for 2-4 days. Also, Advil or Motrin taken before bedtime can help and generally one tablet is sufficient.

Soreness of the Lips, Cheeks or Tongues

This can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater rinses. Dissolve one tablespoon of salt in 8 ounces of luke warm water and rinse your mouth vigorously (do not swallow the salt water). Placing Orabase on the affected area may help; this can be found in a pharmacy. If the tenderness is severe, take whatever you normally take for a headache or similar pain. The lips, cheeks, and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can put wax on the braces to lessen this. We’ll show you how!

Poking Wires or Loose Appliances

If you break a part of your braces and cannot make an appointment right away, try to remove any loose pieces or cover the problem with wax or wet cotton ball. Using a pencil eraser, try pushing the poking wire down or place wax on it to alleviate the discomfort. You can also try using a tweezer, to try putting the wire back into place. If doing this and using wax doesn't help, as a last resort use a small fingernail clipper to snip the wire behind the last tooth to which it is securely fastened. If your bracket or band becomes loose and is still attached to the wire, you should leave it in place and put wax on it. Call our office as soon as possible and schedule an appointment to adjust or repair the problem. Be sure to save all broken pieces and bring them to the office with you.

Headgear Soreness or Not Fitting Properly

Sometimes headgear discomfort is caused by not wearing the headgear the prescribed number of hours, as instructed by Dr. Cardarelli. If the facebow is bent, please call our office for assistance. Surprisingly, the headgear may hurt less as it's worn more, so be sure you are getting in the prescribed number of hours.

Take Care of your Appliances

Damaged appliances can increase the length of your treatment process, so be sure to take care of all your appliances and keep all scheduled appointments with Dr. Cardarelli. Missing appointments can delay progress toward your goal of a beautiful smile. Follow all instructions carefully. Not wearing auxiliary appliances (i.e.: headgear, elastics, etc.) as prescribed will hinder treatment and compromise the result.

Cooperation is the key to success.

Dr. Cardarelli working at the lab

Dr. Cardarelli working at the lab