How To Handle An Orthodontic Emergency
Orthodontic emergencies are rare, but it’s still important to be prepared for them so that they don’t impact your treatment if they do happen. As a rule, if you experience severe pain or have a problem with your braces that you can’t take care of on your own, call our office and schedule an appointment with your orthodontist.
There are actually quite a few things you can do if something goes wrong with your orthodontic appliance.
Loose Band Or Bracket
If the band or bracket is still attached to the archwire, leave it there and use wax to alleviate any discomfort. If it comes completely loose, wrap it in tissue and call us to schedule a repair appointment with the orthodontist. Don’t just wait until your next regular appointment because broken orthodontic appliances can delay treatment!
If you can, put the wire back in place using tweezers or needle nose pliers. You can also use a piece of dental floss to tie the wire in place, and as a last resort, you can use nail clippers to trim the wire behind the last bracket it is securely attached to. If the wire is uncomfortable, place wax over it and schedule a repair appointment.
If a wire from your braces is poking out, you can use a pencil eraser to push it down or use wax to cover it. Make sure that the wire that is poking you is dry and clean before you cover it with wax. Also, remember to remove the wax before eating and brushing your teeth.
Each time you get your braces tightened, you may feel soreness in your mouth that can make it difficult to chew. You can relieve this discomfort by rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater (just make sure not to swallow it). Over-the-counter pain medication can also help, and you can use wax to cover any parts of your appliance that cause irritation to your cheeks, lips, or tongue.
The Rare Major Orthodontic Emergency
Much less often, a patient may have to deal with a more serious emergency in the course of their orthodontic treatment. Having a plan in place is a good idea in case this happens. Examples of a major orthodontic emergency include:
- Severe oral/facial pain
- Swollen/infected gums or major swelling around the face
- A traumatic injury to the mouth, teeth, or face
In the unlikely event that you experience any of these, call our office immediately to schedule an emergency appointment, but if the problem affects more than just your braces, prioritize your health by going to the emergency room first. Once you’ve been treated for injuries, call us so that we can address the problems with your braces.
How Holmes & Palmer Orthodontics Can Help
Sometimes an orthodontic emergency is not one you can solve yourself, and that’s where we come in. If the problem is with your orthodontic appliance, contact our team right away. If you sustain a traumatic injury to the mouth (such as a sports injury or accident), you might need to immediately visit the emergency room, but make sure to notify our office and your general dentist.