Types of Orthodontic Emergencies and How to Handle Them

True orthodontic emergencies do not occur frequently, but they are not unheard of either. If these problems arise, having a plan for how to address them will make dealing with them less stressful and help you understand what measures to take next.

If you are currently getting orthodontic treatment or have already completed it, you are aware that it takes some time to get used to wearing braces or a retainer. The majority of patients are likely to suffer slight aches and soreness, particularly when the teeth begin to move and shift into an optimum alignment. This is especially likely to be the case as the treatment progresses.

With the assistance of the following guide, you can take care of the most common orthodontic issues with the tools already present in your home. You won’t have to drop everything and rush into the office for anything that you can take care of!

Common Orthodontic Emergencies

1. Food Stuck in Braces Causing Pain

Occasionally, a food particle might become lodged between a band and a tooth or gum, causing discomfort. Call your orthodontist if you cannot remove it by brushing, flossing, or using a toothpick. For your comfort, they will likely see you the same day if you phone during business hours or the next day if you call after hours. If the pain is not severe, a few days to a week is often enough.

2. Mouth Sores

When the braces are placed on your teeth, you may initially have discomfort in your mouth, and after up to a week, you will have difficulty biting, and your teeth will become tender.

The best course of action is to consume soft foods until the chewing process no longer causes discomfort. Even sore patches or inflamed gums can be soothed by gargling with warm saltwater. You feel more at ease after thoroughly rinsing your mouth with the warm salt water solution.

3. Poking Wire

Before the completion of your initial appointment and at regular intervals after that, your orthodontist will do a check to ensure that no wires are poking or hurting your gums. Nevertheless, as teeth shift, there is a possibility that there may be excess wire, which will cause it to poke the inside of your mouth.

Typically, a wire poking your gums is a problem you can correct on your own without needing to arrange an additional appointment with your dentist. Wax should be applied to the portion of the wire that is protruding. If you do not have any more wax, you might use a cotton swab instead. Even better, you can sanitize a pair of nail clippers and cut the wire to length on your own.

In addition, you can sterilize the eraser from a pencil and use it to push the wire in a direction so that it is flush with your bracket and no longer poking you in the cheek. This will prevent the wire from irritating your skin.

If none of these solutions work for you, or if the wire is sticking out far enough that it is causing cuts on your skin, you should make an appointment with your orthodontist as soon as possible so that the problem may be properly addressed.

4. Bracket or Band Comes Loose

Attached to the front surface of your teeth are brackets. Ligatures connect the archwire to the brackets. Over time, the wire will straighten out, and the teeth will shift. Bands are the metal rings that fit around the back molars where the archwire enters the slot. Occasionally, a bracket or band may become loose and detach from its support.

If this occurs during business hours, you should contact your orthodontist as soon as possible.

If it occurs after hours, contact your orthodontist the following morning. There is no need to contact the after-hours number. They will likely schedule a convenient time for you to return to have the bracket or band fixed. If caught early in the treatment process, it will not impede development. If it is near the conclusion of treatment, delaying repair can add months to the duration of care. This is because the tooth is no longer secured in place and can freely shift out of position, and even the tiniest movement might result in backtracking.

5. Missing Rubber Bands

Orthodontists attach rubber bands to braces to correct a variety of bite issues. Overbites, underbites, and crossbites are examples. These rubber bands are positioned at various angles over the teeth. This is utilized to apply angular force to the teeth.

The loss of a rubber band is not considered an orthodontic emergency or urgent situation. Patients are instructed to remove and replace these bands as necessary during the duration of the treatment. You can replace a missing band with one of the replacements your dental professional provided. Even though it is conceivable for you or your child to swallow a band, it is safe to do so because the bands are non-toxic. Inform your orthodontist if this occurs.

6. Swallowed Appliance

If you suspect that you may have swallowed a piece of an orthodontic appliance, such as a band or a bracket, have another person look into your mouth and throat with a flashlight.

If the piece is not visible and you are coughing excessively or having problems breathing, it is possible that it was aspirated, which means it was breathed into your lungs. Get yourself to the nearest hospital emergency room as soon as possible.

If you are not having difficulty breathing, there is a good probability that the appliance will move through your digestive system without producing any issues related to your health. It is a good idea to call your orthodontist and let them know that you have swallowed the device so that they can schedule an appointment for you to come in and obtain a new one.

7. Broken Retainer

The sound of a crushed retainer will stay with you for a long time! After you have recovered from the first shock of discovering that your retainer has been broken, the first thing you should do is examine it.

If the device is not already disassembled, try it on your teeth to determine how well it fits. You may have only bent the retainer out of shape rather than breaking it entirely, which would be the greatest possible outcome. If the retainer is really wiggly, you should look for an orthodontist so that you can acquire a replacement retainer.

If you are unable to secure an appointment with an orthodontist right away, your next best option is to protect your teeth by purchasing a mouthguard that is sold in stores without a prescription. You could also be able to discover a retainer that is only temporary and that you can use until your appointment.

How to Handle a True Orthodontic Emergency

If you are having an orthodontic emergency, you first need to take a deep breath and try to remain as calm as possible. 

Next, you should call your orthodontist and describe what took place, how you are currently feeling, and the specific injuries or symptoms you have sustained. 

It is critical to the success of what happens next that you involve your orthodontist as soon as you possibly can in the treatment process. Keeping them updated on the situation allows them to more accurately analyze the harm and devise a strategy on how to deal with the situation appropriately. After you have devised a strategy, you should immediately begin putting it into action so that you can forestall the emergence of new issues or the worsening of existing ones.

If, on the other hand, you find yourself in a situation that makes up a true orthodontic emergency, you should contact your orthodontist as soon as you possibly can. This way, you will be able to concentrate on getting better and continue with your treatment.

A true orthodontic emergency is one that is far more serious and needs to be corrected by making a special trip to your orthodontist as soon as possible. The following consists of a more serious dental emergency:

  • Severe pain in the mouth or face
  • Injury or trauma to the teeth, mouth, or face
  • Infection, which causes swelling in the mouth or face

You must seek the assistance of an experienced orthodontic practitioner as soon as possible in these true orthodontic emergencies. Because your subsequent actions are so important, you may require assistance from someone other than your orthodontist, especially if you’ve had injuries to your face or jaw.

Read more: Do People Sleep With Invisalign On?

Consult with Kumra Orthodontics to learn more about orthodontic emergencies

It’s always a good idea to consult with your orthodontist about any emergency situation you may experience. However, if you find yourself in the unfortunate position of experiencing an emergency, you can do a few things to ease the pain and help get your treatment back on track. This article outlines some of the most common orthodontic emergencies and what you can do to address them. We hope this information is helpful and provides peace of mind during your treatment.

If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact us at Kumra Orthodontics for more information.