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Emergency Info

h-jawPainAt Carvalho & Roth Orthodontics, we’re committed to providing quality orthodontic treatment to patients of all ages in Marlborough, Northborough, Newton Centre, MA and the surrounding areas. Our doctors work hard to provide a personalized treatment plan that fits both your finances and lifestyle. We know that orthodontic can be a bit overwhelming, which is why we are here for you every step of the way and are always happy to answer your questions or address your concerns.

It may take some time to get comfortable wearing your orthodontic appliances. It isn't uncommon to experience a bit of soreness when appliances are first put on, or some minor aches as teeth begin moving into new positions. Yet it's comforting to know that genuine orthodontic emergencies are rare.

If you think you may have an emergency, the first step is to determine the severity of the problem. Is it an urgent situation that requires immediate attention, or a minor problem that you can take care of yourself, until you can come in to one of our offices?

A Major Emergency

There are only a few situations that can be considered orthodontic (or dental) emergencies, and fortunately they are rare occurrences. They include:

  • Trauma or injury to the teeth, face or mouth
  • Infection or swelling of the gums, mouth or face
  • Severe, unmanageable discomfort or pain in these areas

In any of these situations, you should seek help as soon as possible — go to an emergency room, if that's your best option. Generally, however, the place to start is with your regular dentist. Remember that he or she is trained to handle a range of dental problems, and can most likely offer the necessary diagnostic tools, anesthetics and treatments you need. If, for example, you have a fractured tooth, your dentist will treat the immediate problem and arrange for the tooth's restoration; afterwards your orthodontic treatment plan can be adjusted as needed. Likewise, severe pain or swelling could be a sign of infection or disease, which a dentist or periodontist is best able to treat.

Some Minor Troubles

Fortunately, the vast majority of orthodontic problems are minor compared to these situations — but they may still cause discomfort or irritation. In general, it's best to try and soothe the immediate cause of the discomfort, and then call our office to schedule an appointment; that way, we can allot sufficient time to take care of you. Here are a few of the more common orthodontic problems, along with some tips on what you can do to relieve them at home:

Loose or broken brackets, bands or wires
Loose or broken brackets are often caused by eating hard or sticky candy or food, or playing with the braces. If the band or bracket is still attached to the wire, leave it as is — but don't connect any elastics to it! You can cover it with orthodontic wax if it's irritating the inside of your mouth. If the bracket has fallen off, save it. In either case, call our office to let us know what happened, and we will schedule a visit. Be sure to bring any loose parts with you to the appointment!

Misplaced or poking archwire, bracket or tie
As the teeth start to move, the wire that connects them (archwire) may begin poking near the back of the mouth or irritating the cheeks. You can try moving the wire into a better position with a pencil eraser or a Q-Tip. If the wire won't move, you may be able to cut the end off with a nail clipper sterilized in alcohol — but before doing so, please call our office for our guidance or instructions. Often, you can also use tweezers to gently move a misplaced wire or a tie that's causing problems.

When wires or brackets cause irritation, covering the metal parts with wax will often help ease the discomfort. As with any of these types of problems, call our office and we'll schedule a time to see you.

General tooth pain or loosening
It's normal for teeth to become slightly loosened during orthodontic treatment — that shows they're moving! Sometimes, this movement may be accompanied by tenderness, especially after braces are placed or adjusted. For minor soreness, you can use your regular over-the-counter pain reliever. A twice-a-day salt-water rinse may also help: Mix one teaspoon of salt in an 8-ounce glass of warm water, and rinse for 30 seconds. A warm washcloth or heating pad placed on the outside of the jaw can also offer some relief.

Contact Our Marlborough, Northborough or Newton Centre Offices

While actual emergencies are rare, our goal at Carvalho & Roth is to make orthodontic treatment as comfortable as possible. If you need additional advice, or would like to schedule an appointment, please don't hesitate to call us! Our friendly staff is always happy to help!

Carvalho & Roth Orthodontics

  • Marlborough - 126 Union St., Marlborough, MA 01752 Phone: (508) 485-8788
  • Northborough - 1 E. Main St., Northborough, MA 01532 Phone: (508) 393-5400
  • Newton Centre - 4 Lyman St., Newton Centre, MA 02459 Phone: (617) 332-2434

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