Occasionally, our patients encounter an emergency situation related to their braces or orthodontic treatment. Find out how to recognize an emergency, and what to do about it!
Let’s start by looking at what an orthodontic emergency isn’t:
Orthodontics patients experience varying degrees of discomfort during their treatment. This discomfort can include mild achy-ness after an adjustment appointment, minor lip and gum irritation as the inside of the mouth gets used to the braces and their position, and occasional day-to-day aches and pains as your teeth move.
These types of discomfort are not considered emergencies. In most cases you should be able to soothe it yourself.
To reduce inflammation and numb soreness, you can apply ice, or take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain killer, such as ibuprofen.
Many people find that salt water rinses also help. To make a salt water rinse, dissolve a ¼ teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of water, and gently swish portions of it in your mouth, using the full amount over the course of five minutes.
If your lips, cheeks or gums are irritated, try orthodontic wax to create a smooth barrier between your braces and the affected area. Apply a small piece of wax to the offending bracket or wire, and massage it into place, creating a smooth barrier between your braces and the inside of your mouth. You can get this wax from your orthodontist or from your local pharmacy.
To help you get through these day-to-day types of discomfort, remember that it is largely transitory. Using the methods listed here, you should be able to manage just fine at home.
Now, let’s look at what is an orthodontic emergency.
Any type of severe pain, or damage to your appliance that you can’t take care of yourself, is an orthodontic emergency.
- A loose brace, glue pad or wire retainer
- A wire jabbing painfully into your cheek that you can’t bend back yourself
- Direct injuries to the mouth or teeth, including knocked out, fractured or displaced teeth and lacerations
- Severe pain that can’t be managed with over the counter pain killers, ice, or salt water rinses
If you encounter any of these issues, contact our office as soon as possible, and we’ll fit you in for a same-day appointment.
In the meantime, ice the affected area and staunch any bleeding. If you are bleeding excessively, go to the emergency room at the hospital.