Orthodontic Emergencies

by | Feb 13, 2019

Are you new to the world of orthodontic treatment? Or have you been wearing braces for a while and consider yourself something of an expert? At Team Demas Orthodontics, it’s important to us that all of our patients, from brand new to most experienced, feel confident in their knowledge of the treatment process. It’s equally important to us that you are informed about some of the issues that can occur when undergoing orthodontic treatment with braces. While true orthodontic emergencies are rare, they do occur from time to time. It’s helpful for our braces patients to know how to proceed in the event of any of the following orthodontic emergencies:

  • serious injury or trauma to the face, neck, mouth, teeth, or gums
  • swelling, infection, or bleeding of the gums or mouth
  • severe pain or discomfort in your teeth, mouth, face, or neck

If you experience any of these symptoms while in braces, we encourage you to seek from a qualified provider help as soon as possible. If you’re a current patient, we recommend you start with our Southington office, or even your general dentist. However, please don’t hesitate to visit an urgent care clinic or emergency room if you feel that’s your best option. While some patients are concerned that their orthodontic process will be interrupted or delayed by emergency treatment, we can always pick up where we left off, or adjust your treatment plan once the emergency has passed.

Not sure about what constitutes an actual emergency? It’s not unusual to question what type of situation would require an immediate ER visit versus when it would be advisable to “wait and see” how things go. One good example of this would be a fractured tooth. This would require immediate diagnosis and treatment. The same is true for any severe pain or swelling around your teeth, jaw, or mouth, as this can be a sign of infection or disease.

Thankfully, serious emergencies tend to be few and far between! While having a plan in place for an emergency is always recommended, a number of more minor issues can be remedied from the comfort of your own home. Though they may not always be able to eliminate all the pain, discomfort, or irritation you’re experiencing, home remedies can be very effective at lessening or relieving your symptoms until we can see you in our office.

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Treating non-emergency issues

To help you know what to look for and how to treat some of the most common minor “emergencies” or sources of discomfort, we’ve compiled a list of them below, as well as tips on how to handle them from home. Keep reading to learn more!

Mouth sores

While orthodontic treatment itself doesn’t cause mouth sores, some patients do seem to be more susceptible to them while they’re in braces. If you find yourself struggling with painful ulcers on your cheeks, lips, tongue, or gums while you’re wearing braces, you can get some relief by swabbing a small amount of topical anesthetic directly to the sore. This can be reapplied as often as needed, just be sure to follow the instructions included with the packaging.

Loose or broken brackets, bands, or wires

If any part of your braces comes loose or breaks during treatment, please contact our office as soon as possible so we can determine what your next steps should be. In the meantime, there are a few guidelines you can follow to keep your braces and your mouth safe.

If a band or bracket is broken but still attached to the wire, try to leave it alone until you can be seen. Don’t connect any elastics to it. Components that are causing irritation can be covered with a small amount of orthodontic wax, but remember to remove it when you’re brushing your teeth, then reapply it as needed. If any piece of your braces has completely broken off, we ask that you place it in a secure bag and bring it with you to your appointment.

Misplaced archwire, bracket, or tie

As your treatment progresses and your teeth begin to move, the archwire connecting them may also shift. This can result in it poking out a bit near the back of your mouth, irritating your cheeks or gums. You can use the eraser end of the pencil or a clean cotton swab to gently move it back into the correct spot.

If your wires or ties move, they can often be gently manipulated back into place using a pair of clean tweezers or the eraser end of a pencil. For wires or brackets that have shifted and are irritating the inside of your mouth, try a pinch of orthodontic wax over the parts that are poking out to help relieve the immediate discomfort. Don’t forget to contact us as soon as you can so Dr. Demas can determine what’s actually going on and correct it.

Tooth pain or loosening

Although your teeth loosening slightly can be a little scary, it’s common during orthodontic treatment, and is actually exactly what we want them to do! However, this movement can sometimes cause mild tenderness. This may be especially noticeable right after your braces are put on, or following an adjustment appointment. Salt water rinses are a great home remedy that is tried-and-true for relieving soreness. Simply mix one teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water, then swish it around your mouth for about 30 seconds before spitting it out. A warm washcloth or heating pad placed on the outside of your jaw can offer some pain relief as well.

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Team Demas is here to help!

In the event of a true orthodontic emergency, you should seek treatment from an experienced and qualified orthodontist like Dr. Demas as soon as possible. But we know that even minor emergency situations can be upsetting to patients! That’s why our whole team is dedicated to creating an orthodontic experience that is safe, stress-free, and rewarding for you. Because we build beautiful smiles for patients of all ages daily, we know that the process doesn’t have to be painful. If you’re experiencing any discomfort with your braces, or are concerned about any other aspect of your orthodontic treatment, get in touch with our Southington office today. We’ll work hard to get to the bottom of whatever the problem and put a smile back on your face as soon as possible!

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