Occasionally, some patients will experience an injury to the mouth during orthodontic treatment. Dental emergencies while wearing braces or other orthodontic appliances generally fall into two categories: emergencies related to the orthodontic appliances themselves and direct traumatic injuries to the mouth and teeth.
EMERGENCIES RELATED TO ORTHODONTIC APPLIANCES
Sometimes, appliances may become broken or bent during your orthodontic care. If there are any disturbances, such as loose bands, loose brackets, or broken or poking wires, please call our office to allow us to schedule time to repair the appliance and relieve you of any discomfort. If you have a regular scheduled appointment coming up, please call us so that we can adjust your appointment time accordingly and determine whether you should come in immediately or wait until your scheduled appointment.
Loose Brackets or Bands
Please call our office immediately for advice if a bracket or wire is loosened. The bracket may need to be re-fitted as soon as possible. If the bracket comes off the wire, hold on to it and bring it with you to your next appointment. 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.
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.
It is common for patients to lose a separator at some point during their treatment. Do not worry about losing a separator, but please call our office to see if it needs to be replaced.
Discomfort with Orthodontic Treatment
During the first week after your braces are in place and after routine adjustments are completed, you may feel some soreness or discomfort. You may take over the counter pain relievers such as Tylenol or Advil as needed while you adjust to your new braces.
DIRECT INJURIES TO THE MOUTH AND TEETH
Following a direct traumatic injury to your mouth or teeth, you should contact your regular dentist as soon as possible. Usually an x-ray of the involved tooth or teeth is needed to determine the extent of injury. If a tooth has been displaced, knocked out, or fractured, it is best to contact your family dentist first, since we may not have the necessary materials or anesthesia required to treat these injuries. If the appliances are dislodged or displaced, we will likely need to replace or adjust the appliances as soon as possible, depending upon the comfort level of the patient.
After Office Hours
If an orthodontic emergency arises where the patient is in pain after hours, please call our office immediately where contact information will be available for further assistance.