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Dental emergencies while wearing braces or other orthodontic appliances fall into two categories:
- Direct injuries to the mouth and teeth.
- Emergencies related to orthodontic appliances.
Direct Injuries to the Mouth and Teeth
Following a direct injury to your mouth or teeth, whether undergoing orthodontic care or not, you should be seen by your general dentist as soon as possible. Usually a radiograph of the involved tooth or teeth is needed to ascertain the extent of the injury. If a tooth has been knocked out, severely displaced or fractured, it is best to contact your family dentist first, since we may not have the necessary materials to treat these injuries. If the orthodontic appliances are dislodged or displaced, we will need to replace or adjust them as soon as possible. Please call our office immediately after seeing your family dentist. If you are unable to reach your family dentist or an alternate emergency facility, call our office and we will assist you in every way that we can.
Emergencies Related to Orthodontic Appliances
Broken or disturbed appliances occur from time to time during your orthodontic treatment. If there is any disturbance, such as loose bands or brackets, broken or poking wires, call our office as soon as possible so we can evaluate the urgency of the problem and schedule you to be seen accordingly. In the interim, the following helpful hints will offer relief for some of the problems you may encounter until you can be seen in our office.
- If a tie wire is irritating your mouth, cover it with wax or tuck it under the archwire using a blunt object like a pencil eraser or Q-tip.
- A loose band or bracket can generally be left in place until seen in our office. Call the office as soon as you notice a loose band or bracket so we can schedule you to be seen and reattach the loose appliance.
- A broken archwire, or one that is irritating the gum or cheek tissue, needs attention sooner than your regularly scheduled appointment for replacement or adjustment. You can call the next business day for an appointment and in the meantime, place a small piece of wax over the wire where it is irritating the gum or tissue for temporary relief. We always have extra wax located in the tooth-brushing station at each location.
- A bent headgear facebow, or removable appliance that is not fitting well, is not to be worn until it can be properly adjusted in our office. Call the office as soon as possible to schedule an appointment to have the facebow or removable appliance adjusted.
- Warm salt water rinses will sooth irritated gums.
- We recommend Tylenol as the best pain management medicine. NSAIDS such as Advil and Motrin can negatively affect the orthodontic process.
” True orthodontic emergencies ” do not occur often, but when they do we are available to assist you. You should call the office when you experience severe pain that you can’t take care of yourself, and we’ll schedule an appointment to resolve the problem.