Emergencies / Common Problems


What to do in case of emergency

Call our office during normal business hours if you break or loosen any of your appliances. Please do not come directly to the office; by calling us, you will allow us to create a time to see you. Even if you have a regular appointment scheduled, call us immediately to notify us if you need an appliance repaired.

Trauma to the mouth

If you are hit in the mouth causing a tooth or teeth to loosen or become displaced or there has been trauma to the gums or lips that requires immediate attention, call the office. If it is after hours, you will be instructed how to reach Dr. Ritucci.

Loose brackets or bands

Call our office during normal business hours 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.

Wire irritations

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, call our office for an appointment.

Lost elastomeric tie

Most patients lose a tie during their treatment. Do not worry about losing a tie, but call our office to see if it needs to be replaced.

Common Problems and Solutions

If you teeth become sore after a visit, we generally recommend that you take Tylenol Advil or Motrin as indicated on the directions on the bottle. This, of course, is the protocol only if there are no known allergies to these medications. Rinsing with warm water and salt can also help.

If food becomes stuck between your teeth, use dental floss and/or a proxy brush to remove it. Refer to the Brushing and Flossing section of this website.

If you experience gum bleeding when brushing or flossing, it usually indicates that there is a local area of infection, most often gingivitis. Continue to clean the area by brushing and flossing and rinsing with Listerine or Peroxyl as indicated under the Brushing and Flossing section of this website. If you notice that the area is getting bigger or becomes painful, you should inform Dr. Ritucci at your next visit.

If the main wire has come out of the main bracket or tube on a back molar tooth, attempt to reinsert the wire with a pair of needle nose pliers or tweezers. If the wire is still sticking you and wax or cotton does not help, you can cut the wire with a small wire cutter or nail clipper. This is the last resort if it occurs after normal business hours.

If you develop a sore spot due to your braces irritating your cheek, place a small ball of wax over the offending bracket. The wax will cushion the irritation until it heals. Warm water and salt may also make it feel better.

If you notice small spaces developing between your teeth, don't panic! This is very common during the course of treatment especially if the midline needs to be corrected. The spaces will close eventually.

If you notice that your upper front teeth are sticking out, don't panic. This often occurs during the initial stages of treatment when the teeth are being leveled and aligned. As your treatment progresses, the teeth will move back.

If your headgear strap is too loose, the mouth bow will come out of the molar tube. To correct this problem, increase the tension on the strap by hooking it on the second or third hole.

If your retainer feels tight, it indicates that a tooth or teeth have moved or are trying to move. If the retainer can still be worn without major discomfort, wear it more often. It should correct the problem. If it does not or it is too painful to wear, call the office.

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