Orthodontic emergencies are very rare, but when they do occur, we are available to you. As a general rule, you should call the office when you break a bracket or archwire, experience severe pain or when you have an appliance problem. There are temporary solutions to many problems that you can take care of yourself. Below is a list of things that sometimes occur, as well as some remedies and instructions in case they do happen.
If you have an appliance emergency, (such as an expander is loose or uncomfortable) or you are unable to wear a removable appliance, we will book an appointment as soon as possible, continue to wear you appliance, if you are able, until we can advise you what to do.
In the case of fixed braces, even if the breakage problem is not causing discomfort and does not attach to any elastics or appliances, it is still important to call and let us know where the problem is and what is broken. We will either book an additional appointment if necessary or give you instructions to care for the area until your next scheduled appointment. It is very important that we know ahead of time about your problem, so we can set up for the procedure and allow additional appointment time. Your time is valuable to us and if we are not advised in advance, we may not be able to repair the breakage and an extra appointment will be necessary to keep your treatment progressing.
Because breakage is avoidable if our guidelines for eating and appliance care are followed, our policy is that after there have been three breakage problems (loose or broken brackets or bands) we have a charge of $50 for any future breakage. This is not an appointment fee, but it partially covers the additional material costs and treatment time incurred. The fee is per bracket or band. For instance, if a patient had broken a fourth and fifth bracket the fee will be $100 at the time the breakage is detected.
Sometimes a wire can cause irritation. To resolve the discomfort, push the wire away from the area using the eraser end of a pencil or a cotton swab. IF the wire cannot be tucked away, cover the end of the wire with a small piece of wax or a cotton ball. If the wire is rubbing you and the wax does not help, the wire can be cut with a small wire cutter or nail clipper close to the back of the last brace. If you cannot resolve the wire irritation, please call our office for an appointment.
If you have an emergency and we are not at the office, please leave us a message on our machine to let us know what the problem is. During holiday times we do check our messages regularly and will phone you back as soon as possible. In case of an after-hours emergency causing pain, please call Dr. Bibby at her home. If she is not available, your general dentist may be able to assist you or the hospital emergency department will give you the number of the dentist on call.