Common Orthodontic Emergencies – When is Attention Required?

orthodontics emergencies

It is rare to experience a true orthodontic emergency, but these treatments do take some time to get used to. Soreness is common when these appliances are first put on, as well as some minor teeth ache as your teeth begin moving into their new positions.

When an orthodontic emergency does occur, you need to determine how severe the issue is and whether or not immediate attention is required for the safety of your teeth.

Major Orthodontic Emergencies

True orthodontic emergencies need medical attention immediately, and if you are not able to see your dentist, you should visit a nearby emergency room. These major emergencies would include:

  • Unmanageable, severe pain associated with the appliances
  • An injury or trauma to your mouth, face, or teeth
  • Swelling of your face, mouth, or gums would be an indication of infection

These situations require medical attention as soon as possible. Contact your regular dentist as they are trained to handle a range of dental issues. Your dentist has the anesthetics and diagnostic tools needed to address a fractured or injured tooth. They will handle the situation and then refer you to our office for orthodontic treatment and any readjustments that may be required.  If this is not an option, visit your local emergency room for help.

Other Orthodontic Emergencies

There are other orthodontic issues that while are not ‘true’ emergencies, they do cause irritation and discomfort. Some of these emergencies can be addressed at home while you wait to visit your orthodontist.

  • Loose Brackets– Poking wires and loose brackets can be extremely frustrating and irritating. As long as you have them addressed within a few days of becoming loose, you are not at risk for adverse impact on your treatment. If you notice these wires or brackets coming out of place, contact your orthodontist to make an appointment and have them repaired.

Some orthodontic emergencies have at-home solutions you can use while waiting for an orthodontist appointment:

  • Soreness– Your teeth may be tender, and you may feel general soreness in your mouth for up to a week after the appliances are placed on your teeth. You should stick to a diet of soft foods during this time until your teeth do not hurt when you chew. If your gums become irritated or you notice sore spots, you can find some relief by rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater. It the pain is severe, take a Tylenol or your regular medication for a headache or similar aches. It is not recommended that you take Naproxen Sodium, Ibuprofen, or Aspirin. These medications slow tooth movement and are not suggested to be taken while wearing braces.
  • Loose wire– If you notice a wire has come loose, you can use needle-nosed pliers or tweezers to try putting it back into place. If you are unable to put the wire into a comfortable position, try covering the tip of it with wax. If these steps did not help as a last resort, you could use a fingernail clipper to snip the wire behind the last tooth it is attached to securely.
  • Lost separator- Losing a separator is common during your treatment. In many cases, a lost separator does not need to be replaced. Contact your orthodontist to determine whether or not you will need a new one.
  • Uncomfortable headgear– Headgear can often time cause discomfort if it is not worn properly. Refer to the instructions that came from your orthodontist and make sure you have placed it on correctly. If the facebow becomes bent, you will need to see your orthodontist for an evaluation. Typically this appliance will become more comfortable over time. You must wear it for the prescribed amount of hours for it to become more comfortable to wear.

Contact Your Dentist

If you’re looking for a less invasive alternative to braces, it might be worth looking into Invisalign. Contact your Oso Marguerite Dental in Mission Viejo at 949-682-3535 if you have questions about Invisalign or concerns regarding your braces. We are here to offer support and information to help make this experience as comfortable as possible for you.

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