Orthodontic Emergencies: What To Know And What To Do!

At Ward + Campbell Orthodontics it is very important to us that our patients feel informed and confident during every step of the orthodontic process. Whether you are seasoned in the world of braces or brand new to the process, having a general idea of the issues that can happen while in treatment can help give everyone a wonderful experience.

Orthodontic Emergencies

True orthodontic emergencies are rare, but they do happen. The first thing that you should do is remain calm. Next, you need to determine if it is a “true emergency” or a “wait and see” situation. True emergencies are:

  1. Serious injury to face, neck, mouth, teeth or gums.
  2. Swelling, infection or bleeding of the gums or mouth.
  3. Severe pain or discomfort of the face, neck, mouth, teeth or gums.

If you happen to experience any of these symptoms while in orthodontic treatment, please give our office a call and we will get you in as quickly as possible. If the situation warrants, you may need to seek medical attention or visit a general dentist to help with these emergencies. Some patients worry that emergencies will interrupt their treatment. If the emergency is severe enough it may interrupt treatment momentarily, but we will pick up where we left off once the emergency is over and you are cleared to continue.

How To Handle Minor Emergencies At Home

Some emergencies like those discussed above may warrant a trip to the ER, others, while they seem scary at the moment, can take a “wait and see” approach. Below you will find a list of the most common minor emergencies that patients in braces experience and what to do when they happen.

Mouth Sores

Some people are more prone to mouth sores or ulcers than others. Brackets and wires can rub against the cheeks and gums causing the sores. Applying dental wax to the problematic bracket or wire will most often resolve the issue. Use a warm salt-water rinse to help heal the sore and ease some of the pain or discomfort. Using an over-the-counter topical ointment like Ore-gel can also help with some of the pain.

Loose Or Broken Brackets

Sometimes brackets that are attached to the teeth come loose or come off the tooth due to eating sticky/hard foods, bumping them or playing with them. This can happen and is not an emergency. If the bracket is causing discomfort, place dental wax along the bracket to help hold and soothe. If the bracket comes completely off it is okay and will not affect the treatment, we can re-bond the bracket at your next appointment.  If you happen to swallow the bracket, try not to panic; this should not harm you and it will go through the digestive process without issue!  If by chance you do experience discomfort after swallowing a bracket, please seek medical attention.

Poky, Misplaced Or Broken Wires

Wires can poke the cheeks and gums or come out of the bracket causing pain, sores and discomfort. There are some simple steps that you can do at home to help with this. First you can put dental wax on the end of the wire to help dull the pokiness of it. If that does not help you can take clean, sanitized nail clippers with the help of a hand mirror and clip the end to a comfortable level. If the wire slips out of the bracket you can take a clean pair of tweezers and simply push or pull it back into place. If you are not comfortable doing any of these options, please call our office and we will schedule an appointment to clip the wire and help to make you comfortable. If the wire snaps or breaks don’t panic, just give us a call and we will get you in to get the wire replaced.

Tooth Pain Or Loose Teeth

As you are going through your orthodontic treatment, it is not uncommon to feel like your teeth are moving or are sore. This means that the treatment is working! If the teeth feel loose, do not worry, that is part of the process and they should tighten up in a couple of weeks as the movement settles. If there is pain, over-the-counter pain reliever will help with this or you can use a warm compress on the affected area. These will all help to lessen the extent of the soreness that accompanies orthodontic treatment.

If you aren’t sure if you have an emergency, please give us a call. You can always count on our team to provide you with an orthodontic experience that is honest, safe, and makes you feel like you are a part of our family. We help to make beautiful smiles every day!- don’t let discomfort stand in your way, get in touch with us so we can help to make you feel great again!  (208) 734-4314

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Ward + Campbell Orthodontics
1502 Locust St N, Ste 200
Twin Falls, ID 83301

(208) 734-4314