Emergency Orthodontics

Emergencies Are Rare, But We Are Here To Help

Emergency Orthodontics

When you first get your orthodontic appliances, it is normal to experience some soreness and discomfort as your teeth and gums adjust. True orthodontic emergencies are rare. However, it is important to understand the difference between a routine orthodontic issue and an emergency so that you can be prepared.

What Is An Orthodontic Emergency?

While many orthodontic issues can be remedied at home, true orthodontic emergencies require immediate medical attention. If you or your child have suffered a major injury to the head, face or mouth, or if you feel faint or lose consciousness, visit an emergency room or urgent care center. Other emergencies include:

  • Major injury to the face, teeth or mouth

  • Uncontrollable swelling in the face, mouth or gums

  • Pain or severe discomfort that does not respond to over-the-counter pain medications

Once you have seen a physician at urgent care or at the emergency room, you should then schedule an appointment with your dentist to assess your teeth and gums. For your teeth, whether chipped, cracked, or knocked loose, the dentist is your number-one source of help. After you see the dentist, your orthodontic treatment plan can be adjusted as needed. Likewise, severe pain or swelling could be a sign of infection or disease of teeth or gums, which also needs immediate treatment from the dentist.

Non-Emergencies That May Feel Like Emergencies

Fortunately, most orthodontic problems are minor, but they may still cause discomfort or irritation. While these are not true orthodontic emergencies, they can be annoying, and it is best to try and soothe the immediate cause of the discomfort and then call for an appointment. Below are some routine orthodontic issues and how you can temporarily fix them:

This often occurs because patients ate sticky, chewy or crunchy foods, or were too rough with their appliances. If the bracket is still attached to the archwire, try your best to leave it alone and schedule an appointment with our team. If it has completely come off, place the bracket in a plastic bag and bring it with you to your next appointment. In the meantime, orthodontic wax can be placed over the affected area to minimize discomfort and irritation.

It is normal for the archwire to sometimes poke the cheeks as the teeth begin to shift. If this occurs, you can try to poke the wire back into place using a Q-tip, a clean pencil eraser or tweezers. Orthodontic wax can also be placed on the tip of the wire to reduce irritation. If the issue persists, please call our office to schedule an appointment.

It is normal to experience some mild soreness when you first get your orthodontic appliances or after they have been tightened at a follow-up appointment. If you are experiencing discomfort, try taking over-the-counter pain medication. You can also mix together 8 oz of warm water and 1 teaspoon of salt together to create a warm saltwater rinse. Gently swish this mixture around in your mouth twice a day to alleviate pain. Some patients also find relief by gently placing a warm washcloth or a heating pad on the face.

Emergency Orthodontics


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