Emergency Care

If you have an orthodontic emergency, please call Westside Orthodontics on (07) 4613 1650.

Orthodontic emergencies can occur frequently, and although they can be quite distressing for the patient, they are usually fairly simple to fix.

If you have an emergency call our clinic immediately and we will organize an appointment to fix it –please don’t rely on your upcoming visit to attend to an emergency. These ‘adjustment appointments’ are devoted solely to tightening you braces and a repair cannot be done at the same time. This is because repairs take time, special equipment, and extra staff that we need to prepare for -so please let us know in advance so we can organize a separate appointment :).

parts-of-braces-edited


To help you accurately describe an emergency to our receptionist when it occurs, please first familiarise yourself with the components of braces:


Now have lets have a look at some common emergencies which could occur:

Food caught between your braces

This is not an emergency, but is just a little uncomfortable and embarrassing. Simply use a piece of floss, toothpick, or an interdental brush (Pikster™) to push the food out.

Lost module or coloured o-ring

This is a fairly common problem. Remember that each of the 3 components of braces (brackets, wires, and modules) are important for them to work. Therefore, if a module has come off then your braces are not working on that tooth! The tooth may not move or it may become free to overcrowd. Therefore, if you notice a module off please call our office to be seen ASAP. To limit ‘module emergencies’, be sure not to pick at your braces, avoid anything sticky (that could pull o-rings off), and don’t eat sharp bits of food (that could split a module).

Discomfort

After the braces go on it is quite common to experience a bit of discomfort for 1-2 days. This is best managed with over-the-counter pain killers for 48 hours. We recommend an alternating combination of Nurofen and Panadol taken every 4 hours. Consuming cold drinks also helps in reducing this discomfort as we use heat activated wires at Westside Orthodontics so a temperature drop can provide brief relief ...aahh!

It is also quite normal to feel a bit of pressure after the braces are tightened at each appointment. This commonly happens when Dr. Devan puts in a new wire (which is thicker and stiffer) or starts elastics (rubber bands). Again, to settle any discomfort, painkillers that night will help. Often we find that our patients are fine the next day!

Ulcers

Sometimes new braces may irritate the lips and cheeks. This commonly occurs around the canine brackets and molar tubes which have hooks added to them. Irritation can cause a tiny white ulcer to form. Rest assured that with time, your mouth will get used to the new braces and the ulcers will disappear. However, in the meantime, use orthodontic wax to cover the sharp area. Pinch off a small piece of wax and roll it into a ball the size of a pea. Dry the area and place the wax over the irritating region. This should do the trick until your mouth gets used to things!

Protruding wire

Occasionally the archwire may work itself around to protrude out of one side. This can dig into the cheek and cause discomfort when opening and closing. If possible, use tweezers to pull the archwire back around so that the ends are flush on both sides. In other cases, we may be closing spaces and as this happens the excess wire usually starts sticking out from the ends. In this case, the wire needs to be clipped. Call our practice and we can clip the wire anytime!

Powerchain has snapped

If the powerchain (elastic string) has snapped and a linkage is hence broken, please call our office to arrange an appointment to get it replaced. Broken powerchain can cause uneven forces which can cause the teeth to move in wrong directions, so its important our orthodontist fixes it as soon as possible.

Dislodged bracket

Brackets are attached to the teeth using special glue. Occasionally they can be knocked off if the patient eats hard foods, gets struck in the mouth during sports, or clenches their teeth at night. Rest assured that this is quite a common occurrence and can be easily managed. If a bracket ‘pops off’ it is usually still attached to the wire and simply rotates on it. The worst that can happen is that it irritates the cheek or lips. It is best to place a ball of wax on the offending bracket and notify our clinic to organize a new bracket to be re-bonded.

Wire broken

Sometimes with wear and tear, the archwire may snap. This is especially common when teeth have been removed prior to braces and there are long spans of unsupported wire. The continual flexing of the wire in this region can lead to it snapping. If this happens, please call out clinic as soon as possible to get it replaced.

Lost or broken plate/functional appliance/retainer

If a plate is broken, please call our office to arrange an appointment to have it repaired or replaced. We don’t like to charge any additional fees, but you will need to pay the laboratory fee for the cost of replacing the appliance. To avoid this happening again, please don’t keep orthodontic appliances in your pocket, but rather always in their proper case.