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 what 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 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 Counts as Orthodontic Emergencies
Like 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 brackets 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 elastic fails, others may follow.
Check your braces and notify your 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.
Get Help for Your Orthodontic Emergencies
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.