Whether someone accidentally bites into a popcorn kernel, takes an unexpected fall, or sustains an injury while playing sports, there are all sorts of reasons a person can experience an orthodontic emergency. These can not only cause pain, but really throw a treatment off track as well, adding months of time. If you’re experiencing any discomfort or other issues because of an orthodontic appliance, Dr. Cordes and our team are here to help. Give us a call at the earliest sign of trouble, and we’ll schedule an appointment to see you and fix the problem as quickly as possible.
While we’re more than able to help patients with orthodontic emergencies, the best approach is to avoid them altogether, right? Here are a few tips to do exactly that:
It’s very important that a patient brush and floss their teeth throughout any orthodontic treatment. With clear aligners and removable retainers, this is pretty easy because the appliance can simply be taken out, but routine oral hygiene is a bit tricky with traditional braces. A patient should take extra time to brush every nook and cranny between their teeth and the brackets, and consistently flossing becomes especially important. There are specially made inter-dental flossers that are designed to work around braces, so these are a great buy if you or your child are currently undergoing treatment!
Start by rinsing and flossing to dislodge the debris, and if this doesn’t work, it may be best to wait a bit so the food can be broken down by saliva. If you can’t remove it and it is causing pain, however, be sure to reach out to our office.
Ligatures are the small rubber bands on each bracket that help keep the wire in place. If just one falls off, it’s not a big deal, and this can be addressed at your child’s next progress appointment. If multiple ligatures go missing, however, you may need to monitor your child’s oral habits, and you should contact us right away to have them replaced.
Right after getting braces put on, adjusted, or switching to a new clear aligner, a little discomfort in the teeth is normal—this just means the treatment is working! If this doesn’t go away after 2-3 days, however, contact our office, and we’ll be able to adjust the appliance so it’s more comfortable.
Just like we touched on above, a little swelling and irritation are normal when beginning orthodontic treatment, but the mouth should quickly be able to adjust. If you or your child’s gums, cheeks, or lips are experiencing persistent pain after 3-4 days, this is a major issue, so you should come to our office so we can address it right away.
First, try using the eraser end of a pencil to gently push and bend the wire so it doesn’t cause any irritation. If this doesn’t help, you can also try covering it in some dental wax, which we’ll give you. If neither of these approaches provide relief, schedule an appointment with us.
If the bracket is loose but still bonded to the tooth, just leave it alone. However, if it is off the tooth and just attached to the wire, try to come see us immediately. Most of all, don’t try to repair this yourself, as this can cause even more damage.
While extremely rare, it is possible for a patient to accidentally swallow a part of their appliance due to breakage or an accident. If the swallowed piece is in the stomach, it probably won’t cause any issues, but if something is stuck in the throat, be sure to head to your local ER immediately.
If you or your child have been in an accident where multiple teeth along with an orthodontic appliance has been damaged or even knocked out, give us a call as soon as possible. After you have explained the situation to us, we’ll let you know if you need to head to our office or go to the ER instead.