What Is Considered an Orthodontic Emergency?

If you’re dealing with an orthodontic emergency, here’s the good news: orthodontic emergencies rarely, if ever, rise to the level of a dental emergency, which may involve a tooth being broken or knocked out. When it comes to orthodontics, most emergency complaints deal with broken appliances and discomfort—these might not be ideal, but you won’t lose a tooth because of them. In other words, don’t panic! Read our advice below and call our office to schedule an appointment.

Discomfort

A little bit of discomfort is natural with braces—and it’s actually a good thing because it means your braces are working. If your teeth feel sore or achy, it’s not an orthodontic emergency. Simply eat soft foods until the pain is alleviated and take over-the-counter pain relievers as needed. If the pain is unbearable, something might be wrong and you should call our office.

Lost or Loose Bracket

Today’s brackets are stronger and more durable than ever, but most patients still break one off at some point during their orthodontic treatment! You can minimize the risk of this by avoiding chewy, sticky, and hard foods, but when it happens, call our office for an appointment. Depending on where you are in your treatment and the tooth that is affected, we may need to replace the bracket immediately or we might be able to do it at your next regular appointment.

Wire Problems

The wires that attach to your brackets can cause all kinds of problems, but you can often deal with them at home. If the wire has come out, you can attempt to use tweezers or pliers to put it back in place. If you can’t do this or if the wire is poking your cheek and causing irritation, you can cover the end with dental wax until your appointment with us. Another solution for poking is to use the eraser end of a pencil to push the wire away from your cheek.

Mouth Sores

Whether because of a poking wire or soft tissues rubbing against the brackets, mouth sores are common with braces. Dental wax can be used to create a barrier between the soft tissues and the wire or bracket that is causing irritation. A numbing gel can help provide relief too, but be sure to use it according to the package instructions. 

Severe Bleeding

This is one situation in which you might have a true emergency on your hands. If an orthodontic appliance is causing bleeding, you should call our office right away. This is exceedingly rare, but it requires urgent attention.

Dental Trauma

Dental trauma can also lead to an orthodontic emergency. If you have braces or another orthodontic device and you’ve experienced dental or facial trauma, it’s a good idea to come in for an appointment so we can evaluate whether any of your orthodontia has been damaged.

Learn More About Orthodontic Emergencies

If you’d like to learn more about orthodontic emergencies or schedule an urgent appointment with one of our orthodontists, contact us today.