Emergency Orthodontic Care

Here When You Need Us

When you think you have an orthodontic emergency, the first step is to determine how severe the problem is and whether it requires immediate attention from an orthodontist. Fortunately, orthodontic emergencies are rare and a majority of problems can be remedied with home care.

What Is An Orthodontic Emergency?

There are only a few true orthodontic (or dental) emergencies. They include:

  • Trauma or injury to the teeth, face or mouth
  • Swelling of the gums, mouth or face
  • Severe, unmanageable discomfort or pain in these areas

In any of these situations, you should seek help as soon as possible — go to an emergency room, if that’s your best option. Generally, however, the place to start is with your regular dentist. Remember that they’re trained to handle a range of dental problems. They can most likely offer the necessary diagnostic tools, anesthetics and treatments you need. For example, if you have a fractured tooth, your dentist will treat the immediate problem and arrange for the tooth’s restoration. Afterwards, your orthodontic treatment plan will be adjusted as needed. Likewise, severe pain or swelling could be a sign of infection or disease, which a dentist or periodontist is best able to treat.

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Emergency Orthodontics FAQs

My Tooth Hurts! What Do I Do?

For minor soreness, you can take an over-the-counter pain reliever. A twice-a-day salt-water rinse may also help. Just mix one teaspoon of salt in an 8-ounce glass of warm water, and rinse for 30 seconds. A warm washcloth or heating pad placed on the outside of the jaw can also offer some relief.

What Do I Do If My Tooth Feels Loose?

There’s no need to be alarmed! It’s normal for your teeth to feel slightly loose during your orthodontic treatment — that shows they’re moving!

How Can I Fix A Loose or broken bracket, band or wire?

This problem is often caused by eating hard or sticky candy or food, or playing with the braces. If the band or bracket is still attached to the wire, leave it as is — but don’t connect any elastics to it! You can cover it with orthodontic wax if it’s irritating the inside of your mouth. If it has come off, save it. In either case, call our office to let us know what happened, and we will schedule a visit. Be sure to bring any loose parts with you to the appointment!

How Do I Handle A Poking Wire or Tie?

As the teeth start to move, the wire that connects them (archwire) may begin poking near the back of the mouth or irritating the cheeks. You can try moving the wire into a better position with a pencil eraser or a Q-Tip. If the wire doesn’t move, you may be able to cut the end off with a nail clipper sterilized in alcohol — but before doing so, please call our office for our guidance or instructions. Often, you can also use tweezers to gently move a misplaced wire or a tie that’s causing problems.

When wires cause irritation, covering the metal parts with wax will often help ease the discomfort. As with any of these types of problems, call our office, and we’ll schedule a time to see you.