What to Do in an Orthodontic Emergency

As a general rule, braces are meant to fix the teeth, but sometimes accidents happen and the braces themselves need to be fixed. Or an injury causes damage to the teeth, gums or soft tissues of the mouth and care is needed to repair the problem. Below is a quick guide to help you provide self-care following an orthodontic emergency prior to your arrival for treatment at Silver Lake Orthodontics.

In the event of an orthodontic emergency, it may be helpful to have cotton swabs, bracket wax, a toothpick, salt, and tweezers on hand. Anesthetic gel can also be beneficial to provide relief from pain.

Oral Cavity Accidents

Ideally, patients with braces who are engaged in athletic activities should always wear a mouth guard to protect the teeth and gums, but an oral-cavity accident could occur despite the use of a mouthguard. Damage to the oral cavity can result from a car accident or an accident related to athletic activity. Damage to the oral cavity needs to be seen by a dentist or a doctor immediately. If there is bleeding, apply pressure to the area that is bleeding. If a tooth or teeth get knocked out, you need to go to the dentist immediately. Take the tooth with you, if possible and preserve it in milk or put it back into its original position in the mouth, if possible. Do not touch the root of the tooth. The patient can bite down on a handkerchief to hold the tooth in place on the way to the dentist.

Loose Brackets

If one of the square metal pieces (brackets) that are attached to the teeth become loose, it’s important for you to schedule an appointment with us as soon as possible. Though the glue that’s used to attach the brackets to the teeth is remarkably strong, brackets do sometimes come loose. Usually, the bracket will remain attached to the wire even if it gets loose, but it’s essential that you get the bracket glued back onto the teeth as soon as possible. If you can remove the bracket from the wire very carefully using tweezers and a toothpick, put it in an envelope or a plastic bag and bring it to the office with you.

Wire Issues

Though rare, it is possible for the wires to become loose or to break during treatment. This can cause poking inside the cheek and general discomfort. Tweezers can be used to bend the wire back against the tooth if this happens, or in some cases, orthodontic wax can be used to keep it from poking the cheek. But if a wire is causing discomfort, be sure to make an appointment with us as soon as possible to correct the problem even if you were able to use tweezers to alleviate the pain. The orthodontist will need to see the wire and make sure that the braces are still functioning properly and not causing discomfort to the patient.

Rubber Bands That Are Missing

Rubber bands are used in a variety of situations to correct underbites, overbites, and crossbites. These rubber bands are used to create an angular force against the teeth. If a rubber band falls out, this is not usually considered to be an orthodontic emergency. Indeed, patients can remove the rubber bands themselves and replace them as needed. But sometimes a patient will accidentally swallow a rubber band. This is not a problem because the rubber bands are non-toxic (do let the orthodontist know, however, if you swallow a rubber band).

Though it’s normal to have irritation in the mouth as a result of braces, loose brackets and poking wires are not normal and need to be corrected. Make an appointment with us as soon as possible to correct these issues and avoid injury to the mouth or having a delay in the course of treatment.