Braces Emergencies

It can be scary not knowing if you’re having an emergency or not.

When you’re in the middle of it, if you let it, panic can set in. If you can stay cool, calm, and collected, you’ll be able to navigate through, stay level-headed, and make wise decisions. The same is true for braces emergencies. Just as you would call for help with other emergencies, we want you to call us if you feel as though you’re having an emergency with braces.

You may be able to temporarily solve some problems yourself until you are able to get to our office. It’s important that you’re familiar with the names and parts of your orthodontic appliances so you can easily identify what is broken or out of place. Once you are able to identify the problem areas and alleviate the discomfort, it’s vital that you call us to schedule the next available appointment. Leaving your braces damaged for an extended period of time can disrupt your treatment plan altogether

How to Know If You’re Having A Braces Emergency

If you’re uncertain, it’s always better to err on the side of caution. “Better safe than sorry” is more than just an old clichéd adage, it’s proven good practice. Braces emergencies tend to be relatively infrequent and fortunately are hardly ever debilitating. There are several ways to determine if you’re having an emergency with braces

Generally speaking, a patient can look in their mouth and see what has occurred with their braces or appliances and can determine exactly what is broken, loose, or causing discomfort. Usually, the most common orthodontic emergency are broken brackets. Here is some important information on how to know if it’s a braces emergency or not. Keep in mind that:

  • It’s not uncommon to feel general soreness and discomfort in the mouth and teeth for one to seven days after an adjustment. If a patient recently had an adjustment and their teeth hurt due to biting pressure, they can dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in eight ounces of warm water, and rinse vigorously and take one or two aspirins (for adults) or Tylenol (only if they are not medically contraindicated for them.) This should relieve the discomfort due to having the recent adjustment.
  • Headgear discomfort can be caused by not wearing the headgear as instructed by your orthodontist. If the facebow is bent, contact us for an evaluation. The headgear will usually become more comfortable the longer it is worn, so wearing it for the time the orthodontists prescribes is absolutely crucial, however, if you are wearing your headgear for the prescribed hours and are still experiencing pain or discomfort, call us and we’ll be happy to help. If a band attaching the headgear or rubber band is loose, discontinue the headgear and all rubber bands.
  • If a bracket is loose and sliding on the archwire, use the wax as needed. If the wire comes out entirely, you can wrap the bracket with a tissue.
  • If a small rubber tie is off, there is no need to call, you can wait until the next appointment.
  • If the small wire tie is sticking out – push it back and under the bracket with a fingernail and place a small piece of wax over the area to allow their lip or cheek to heal.
  • If a wire or spring is loose and dangling, remove it. Fingernail cutters generally can make a clean cut; then place a small piece of wax over the area. However, a patient should generally avoid clipping or cutting the wires.
  • If the archwire is protruding out in the back and sticking into the cheek – place some wax over it until you can schedule an appointment to see the orthodontist.
  • If you’re experiencing a severe toothache or feel an abscess call our office as soon as possible.
  • If the patient has been in a traumatic accident, call our office immediately or as soon as you can.

There are a number of reasons to call our office immediately to get help. There are also a number of circumstances in which there is no need to worry or call. We know it can be confusing with so many working and movable parts when it comes to figuring out emergencies with braces. That’s why it’s so important to have an expert on your side. If you are uncertain or have questions or concerns about anything we have discussed, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 215-968-5471.