Orthodontic Emergencies Made Easy

Orthodontic Emergencies

It’s important to count on a team ready to help you solve all your orthodontic emergencies. However, many patients fear they are unnecessarily bothering their orthodontist with questions about their braces, loose appliance parts, and more.

You don’t have to worry one bit. It’s not a bother. We are glad to help in any way we can when you need us. Fortunately, orthodontic emergencies, while alarming, are not as severe as other general dental emergencies.

Some situations can be life-threatening, and we’ll give you a brief description of what can happen in more complex cases so you can be prepared and act accordingly if it ever happens to you. Always consult with a professional. Likewise, if you fear the situation is far more complex than others think, seek emergency services and then notify your orthodontist or dental health specialist.

Are Orthodontic Emergencies Different from Dental Emergencies?

Yes. Next question.

In all seriousness, dental emergencies are the more general case of a life-threatening situation developing in your maxillofacial region. Several situations require proper medical help to avoid complex problems later on.

An orthodontic emergency is not a term that encompasses so many situations. Keep in mind that orthodontic treatment deals with your teeth and jaw alignment; likewise, orthodontic treatment focuses on using non-surgical methods to realign your dental structures. Therefore, orthodontic emergencies relate to problems with your orthodontic appliance and treatment.

These situations can sometimes wait for a day or two before you go to your specialist’s office, whereas dental emergencies will sometimes require immediate attention.

Some patients worry that some discomfort can signify a major problem. You should always consult with your Albany orthodontist if you are worried about something. Still, we will also focus on some situations you can expect, especially at the beginning of your treatment.

What Are Dental Emergencies

Dental emergencies can be painful and require prompt attention to prevent further damage. Some common dental emergencies are:

  1. Toothache: Severe or persistent tooth pain can be a sign of an underlying dental issue, like a cavity, infection, or tooth fracture.
  2. Knocked-out-tooth: You can re-implant a knocked-out tooth if you can promptly get to the dental home. Keep the tooth moist by placing it in a container of saline solution while you get to the dentist.
  3. Broken or chipped tooth: It can be painful and increase the risk of infection. Save any pieces of the tooth and see a dentist as soon as possible.
  4. Object stuck in teeth: If an object, such as a piece of food or dental floss, becomes stuck between teeth and you can’t remove it with gentle brushing or flossing, it may require professional attention.
  5. Loose or lost filling or crown: This can cause great pain and sensitivity. See a dentist as soon as possible to avoid further damage to the tooth.
  6. Abscessed tooth: An abscessed tooth can cause severe pain and swelling in the mouth and may require immediate attention to prevent the spread of infection.
  7. Broken or damaged denture: A broken or damaged denture will cause discomfort and affect a person’s ability to eat and speak properly.

If you experience any of these dental emergencies, seek prompt attention from a dentist or emergency dental clinic.

What Counts as Orthodontic Emergencies

As we mentioned, you can expect to go through several discomforting situations, particularly as you begin your orthodontic care. We’re going to go over some cases where you might need emergency orthodontic care.

Likewise, you can review some of this information in an infographic prepared by our friends at the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO).

Let’s momentarily focus on our friends using traditional braces. This type of appliance has many parts, such as brackets, wires, and ligatures. Of course, the parts making up your braces will depend on the specific design variations of your braces, but most types of orthodontic braces have these parts.

Out-of-place Dental Braces Brackets

A de-bonded bracket or loose bracket can be concerning. Parents should instruct their children to be particularly careful if they notice a de-bonded bracket to avoid swallowing. In some cases, this can lead to minor discomfort and mouth sores. The bracket brushes against the inside of the patient’s lips, thus resulting in some discomfort.

Whether it’s you or another person who undergoes this situation, you could temporarily fix this by sliding the bracket back into position; feel free to sterilize and use a pair of tweezers to get the job done. These little pieces may slide on the archwire and bother you.

Fortunately, it’s not anything your orthodontist cannot fix quickly during your next visit. Let them know that situation happened and ask when they can welcome you next.

Deal With a Poking Wire

Another important part of your braces includes the archwire. This wire sits over your brackets and remains securely in place, thanks to some additional ligatures.

At times, the end of this wire can poke out into the inside of your cheeks. This protruding wire can result in much discomfort and a few mouth sores. You should get in touch with your orthodontist to ensure you get the help you need in clipping the end of the wire or relocating it.

Again, there are some home DIY solutions you can use to fix this inconvenience. First, try punching it back into position with the eraser end of a pencil or a Q-tip. Take any blunt object to push the poking wire back and avoid more discomfort.

If the situation is too bothersome and you cannot wait until your next orthodontist appointment, try to clip the wire with some clippers or a dedicated wire clipper. Please be careful; you’ll want to prevent any accidental swallowing of the clipped wire. Hold some paper or gauze and place it to catch the piece you cut off.


Fix a Loose Wire

Just as it can happen with a bracket, your appliance’s archwire can loosen and dislodge. This case usually happens when an elastic band fails. Fortunately, this is not a life-threatening situation, but you should call your orthodontist to set an appointment and fix the issue.

If the rubber band is only partially off, you could try using some sterile tweezers to relocate it and secure the archwire. Keep in mind that if one elasticity fails, others may follow.

Check your braces and notify your Richmond orthodontist to avoid more problems.

Whether the wire comes off or an elastic pops out of place, you should try to remain calm, avoid any accidental swallowing, and contact your orthodontist to get help as soon as possible.

What to Do if You Lost Your Clear Aligner

If you lost your clear aligner, it is important to act quickly to prevent any delays in your orthodontic treatment. Here are the steps you can take:

  1. Look for your aligner: Try to locate your aligner in the immediate vicinity. Check your clothes, bed, bathroom, or any place where you may have taken it off. As a general recommendation – give them a special and try not to leave them in random places.
  2. Contact your orthodontist: If you are unable to find your aligner, contact your orthodontist immediately. They will advise you on the next steps, which may involve wearing your previous aligner or moving to the next set.
  3. Wear the previous aligner: If you still have your previous aligner, wear it until you can get a replacement. This will prevent your teeth from shifting back to their original position. And this does happen.

To keep your aligners safe, do not wrap them in napkins, and don’t leave them in places where they can easily get lost. Be sure to keep them in their case because that way, you protect them, and they are more visible.

Losing your aligner is not the end of the world, and it’s common, but it can affect your treatment progress.

How to Avoid Orthodontic Emergencies

Of course, you don’t want to have any emergencies, orthodontic or not. They can be inconvenient and uncomfortable, but you can prevent many of them by practicing good dental care, dental hygiene, and food considerations.

Brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day is paramount to prevent decay and disease. Use only special tools like interdental brushes and floss threaders to clean hard-to-reach areas. Avoid toothpicks and the like.

As you know, keeping hard and sticky foods out of your diet reduces the risk of having loose brackets and wires. Popcorn, caramel, and hard candy can damage braces and aligners and cause an orthodontic emergency.

We don’t want you to stop practicing the sports you love. But you should wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth and braces from impact. You could end up with grave injuries.

The most basic advice to avoid emergencies related to your orthodontic appliances is to not miss your regular check-ups since they allow your orthodontist to monitor your progress and detect any issues early on.

And seek prompt treatment for any issues if you experience any discomfort or pain, contact your orthodontist immediately. They will be able to diagnose the problem and provide appropriate treatment to prevent it from getting worse.

Following your orthodontist’s instructions will always help with preventing emergencies.

Tools You Can Use to Deal With Orthodontic Emergencies

There are several tools and remedies that you can use to manage them. Here are some common tools you can use to deal with orthodontic emergencies:

  • Orthodontic wax: Apply a small amount of wax to the affected area and press it into place to create a barrier between your braces and your mouth. Usually, your orthodontist will provide you with several tools of dental wax.
  • Saltwater rinses: This can help soothe sore gums and promote healing. Mix it with warm water and swish it around in your mouth for about 30 seconds before spitting it out.
  • Tweezers: They help adjust any poking wires.
  • Pliers or nail clippers: Use them to cut poking wires. Make sure the tools are clean and sanitized before using them.
  • Pain relief medication: over-the-counter pain relievers will help you deal with soreness and discomfort.

Get Help for Your Orthodontic Emergencies Contact us at Estes Orthodontics

If you’re looking for help with your orthodontic treatment in El Cerrito, you’re in luck. Dr. Estes en her team work hard to give everyone who comes to our office the best orthodontic treatment they can find.

Our neighbors from El Cerrito can contact us if they have any issues like the ones we described before. However, keep in mind that you should look for qualified emergency services and then get in touch with your dentist or orthodontist if you have any general emergencies that are life-threatening.

Minor issues can wait. If your life is in danger, get to the ER as soon as possible.

For any other concerns about your orthodontic appliances and treatment, make sure to get in touch with a team that values every patient’s condition. We are ready to help you in any way we can! Set your next appointment with us and get the help you require.

Dr. Estes and her team are committed to ensuring each patient and their families receive excellent care using state-of-the-art treatment options.