What Are the Signs of a Potential Orthodontics Emergency?

Orthodontic Emergencies

Orthodontic treatment has a learning curve like nearly every new experience. Whether you’re straightening your teeth using Invisalign’s clear aligner system or traditional metal braces, the process can be difficult to adjust to.

We understand the worries of our patients at Silver Lake Orthodontics. A day rarely passes without a patient carefully inquiring if the procedure under consideration will be uncomfortable. We like to manage our patients’ expectations by being open and honest with them. We warn our patients that some early soreness is completely normal and that teeth may ache a little as they move. While most of a patient’s temporary discomfort is normal, actual orthodontic emergencies are rare. 

Our purpose and passion at Silver Lake Orthodontics are to give every patient the highest quality Orthodontic care in a safe and fun environment. We want all our patients to feel at home and to trust that they will always have a first-class and family-friendly experience. We consider you a part of our family. That is why we want to offer you and your family the best possible care in our office and allow you to be as informed as possible regarding orthodontic treatment. 

Braces are an excellent approach to straighten your teeth, improve your dental health, and achieve a stunning smile. Accidents sometimes happen, and orthodontic emergencies such as broken braces can be unpleasant and painful. Let’s take a detailed look at everything you need to know about orthodontic emergencies and even how you can treat some of them at home. 

To better understand orthodontic emergencies, it is important to understand orthodontics. 

What Is Orthodontics in Everett?

Orthodontics is a discipline of dentistry that specializes in straightening teeth. The term “orthodontics” is made up of two Greek words: “orthos,” which means “straight” or “correct,” and “dontics,” which means “teeth.” As a result, orthodontics refers to the process of straightening crooked teeth or malocclusions. Orthodontists specialize in correcting incorrect tooth, jaw, and face placement.

An overbite, underbite, overcrowding of teeth, crooked teeth, or jaw misalignment can all lead to eating and communication issues. In such circumstances, orthodontic treatment helps to gradually shift the teeth into a more straight and aligned position. If a person wants a nicer smile, orthodontics can also help achieve cosmetic dentistry goals.

A person may be born with malocclusion or a bad bite or develop it over time due to an accident or undesirable habits, such as thumb sucking as a toddler. Whatever the issue is, it is critical to address it as soon as possible. Malocclusion, sometimes known as a “poor bite,” is a condition in which teeth don’t have a proper alignment. 

What Are Orthodontic Emergencies?

It might be stressful when things don’t go as planned with your braces or aligners. “Does this seem normal?” “How do I proceed?” “Do you think it’ll get any worse?” When something goes wrong with your orthodontic treatment, the most important thing to remember is not to panic.

Problems are uncommon, but it’s critical to know what to do next when they do occur. Even if you are incredibly cautious about your teeth, accidents might still occur. So, what exactly qualifies as an orthodontic emergency? Here are the most common problems and how to solve them quickly.

Minor Issues

True orthodontic emergencies are extremely uncommon; nonetheless, certain typical issues may arise from time to time. These issues may not always occur at convenient times (e.g., 8 p.m. on a Friday night), and they may cause some discomfort; among the minor orthodontic concerns are

  • Wires that are loose or damaged
  • Brackets that are loose or broken
  • Wires poking
  • Loose Spacers. 

You can usually wait a few days until you have free time to visit your orthodontist for a quick treatment. In some circumstances, your orthodontist will provide you with advice over the phone to solve your problem. However, there are also some DIY solutions that you can try at home, to alleviate discomfort until your scheduled appointment.

DIY Solutions to Common Issues 

  • If you have a loose bracket: Metal or ceramic brackets are affixed to each tooth. Your orthodontist will use an adhesive material to attach them to your teeth. The bracket can come loose if the adhesive or glue weakens or breaks. Bring the bracket to your orthodontist if the bracket glue has come out and the bracket can be readily removed. Leave the wire attached to the bracket if it is still attached, and use orthodontic wax to keep the bracket in place.
  • If you have a protruding or broken wire: Bracketed teeth are connected by orthodontic wires, which eventually guide teeth into perfect alignment. Broken wires might protrude from your mouth and cause discomfort. If the wire is still linked to the bracket but protruding, use a cotton swab or a pencil eraser to push it gently back into place. Cover the pointed end with orthodontic wax if the wire is still protruding until you can see your orthodontist.
  • If you have a loose spacer: Spacers are tiny rubber rings placed between your teeth to allow bands to fit comfortably around your teeth. Before an orthodontist bonds braces on your teeth, they will leave the pieces in place for a few days. There’s no need to worry if your spacers shift or fall out entirely. You’re likely ready for your bands to help secure the wire.
  • Loose Bands: Bands are metal bands that completely encircle your rear teeth (and sometimes front teeth). Call your orthodontist if you think a band has fallen loose and needs to be changed or re-cemented. Never attempt to reattach a band to a tooth on your own. Save it and bring it to your reattachment appointment if it falls off. A stray band may break loose without your notice, posing a risk of choking or swallowing.

The good news is that today’s orthodontic patients have little to no bands on their teeth.

True Orthodontic Emergencies 

A true orthodontic emergency, on the other hand, is much more severe and will demand a special appointment with your orthodontist as soon as possible. Some of the more critical difficulties are as follows:

  • Infection, which causes swelling of the lips or face.
  • Trauma is a term used to describe an injury to the teeth, mouth, or face.
  • Severe pain in the mouth or on the face.

In these actual orthodontic crises, the intervention of a knowledgeable professional is necessary, so don’t wait. If you have injuries to your face or jaw, you may need help from someone other than your orthodontist, so take action right away.

How to Handle a True Orthodontic Emergency 

If you’re dealing with a true orthodontic emergency, the first thing you should do is stay calm. Call your orthodontist and explain what happened, how you’re feeling, and what kind of injuries or symptoms you’re experiencing. Getting your orthodontist involved as soon as possible is critical to the success of the next steps. Keeping them informed allows them to analyze the damage better and devise a strategy for dealing with the situation. Once you’ve planned a strategy, start to work on it right away to prevent new problems from forming or worsening.

As you can see, little issues might arise from time to time and can be readily resolved; however, if a major problem arises, it must be addressed immediately.

No matter how minor an orthodontic emergency is, the truth is that emergencies are no fun. The best thing to do is learn how to avoid having an orthodontic emergency during your treatment with braces. 

How to Avoid Orthodontic Emergencies

Rule of thumb, always, no matter what, follow your Ann Arbor Orthodontists’ instructions throughout your treatment time.

Food

It’s important to avoid foods that can damage your braces. Most people wear braces for about two years. All chewy, sticky, crunchy, and hard foods should be avoided during that time. While this may seem like a long time to go without popcorn or bubble gum, hard foods can break the brackets of your braces, and sticky foods can bend the wires.

Participating in Sports

Wearing braces does not preclude you from participating in sports. All you have to do now is take some extra measures. Mouth and jaw injuries are widespread in sports. Wearing a mouthguard is the greatest approach to protecting your mouth and orthodontic device.

Flossing and Brushing

Brushing and flossing carefully after each meal is critical for keeping your braces in good condition and avoiding orthodontic complications. Small particles of food can easily become trapped in your braces, and if the food isn’t removed, plaque forms between the teeth and gums.

Call Your Emergency Orthodontist in Everett.

Whether you are experiencing an orthodontic emergency or would like to schedule an appointment to talk about your orthodontic treatment options, contact us! You can also give us a call if you want a checkup to see how things are going!

We look forward to seeing you walk through our door. 

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