Here at Mack Orthodontics, we want you to feel confident in your role in your orthodontic treatment and to know how to handle any situation. No matter where you are in your treatment, knowing how to handle orthodontic emergencies can ease some anxiety between visits to our office. It should put your mind at ease to know true orthodontic emergencies are rare, although they happen. If you know how to handle an emergency safely in the unlikely event that you experience one, it won’t be as stressful. What do we mean by “true orthodontic emergency”? In general, this would include any of the following:
- 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
Call our office soon as you can if you experience any of these issues so we can schedule an emergency appointment. We’ve added some additional safety measures, such as making sure that you’re the only patient in our office and we’ll put some extra effort into sanitation and disinfection in addition to our already high standards. If you’re worried that your treatment will be interrupted by an orthodontic emergency, that is generally not the case. Once the problem is resolved, your treatment will continue as planned.
Handling Minor Emergencies at Home
We don’t want you to put your health in danger in any way, but we especially don’t want you to come into our office when you don’t need to. Thankfully, many issues can be remedied at home. These solutions may not be perfect, but they can keep you comfortable until we can see you again. Keep reading for a list of common minor emergencies, and what you can do if it happens to you.
Irritation and Discomfort
It’s not unusual to feel some discomfort after your braces or retainer are put on or adjusted, and it shouldn’t last very long. However, eating can still be uncomfortable.
Sometimes braces can also irritate your mouth, especially when you’re eating. You can use a small ball of orthodontic relief wax to cover the problem area. No need to worry about swallowing the wax, because it’s harmless.
If you’re concerned about a tooth that feels loose of tender, don’t worry! This is a natural part of the process and should go away shortly.
Some people are more prone to mouth sores, and even though your braces can’t cause them, they can make an existing problem worse. If a patch of sores appears on your cheeks, lips, and tongue. If you’re uncomfortable, apply some topical anesthetic to the sore with a cotton swab, or apply orthodontic wax to the part of your braces causing the problem.
Loose or broken brackets, bands, or wires
If your braces come loose in any way, complete a virtual visit on our website so Dr. Mack can determine the next steps. Your brackets attach to your teeth and are generally attached to the center of the tooth. The bracket may also have been knocked off-center because you’ve eaten forbidden food or your mouth has sustained an impact. If your bracket appears to be off-center, it’s likely that the adhesive failed.
If the bracket is in an uncomfortable position, use a cotton swab or a pencil eraser to move it into a more comfortable position. You can also use sterile tweezers to slide the bracket along the wire until it is between two teeth. Don’t attach any elastics to a broken part of your braces.
Misplaced archwire, bracket, or tie
As your teeth move, the archwire that connects your brackets can move also. This can cause it to poke out near the back of your mouth in an uncomfortable way. If this causes irritation, move it with the eraser end of a pencil or a cotton swab.
If another part of your braces, such as a wire or tie, is out of place, you can use a clean pair of tweezers or a pencil eraser to put it back in place or at least a more comfortable place. If you need to relieve some discomfort right away, put a piece of orthodontic wax over the area. Make sure you complete a virtual visit so Dr. Mack can see the problem and provide more specific information on how to correct the problem.
Mack Orthodontics is here to help
Yes, true orthodontic emergencies are rare. But, they’re possible from time to time. In the unlikely scenario that you experience one, we’re here to help. The best thing you can do is to contact an experienced and qualified orthodontist like Dr. Mack as soon as possible.
We understand that minor orthodontic issues can still be stressful, especially when you can’t come to see us for a while. To help you keep your treatment progressing in the meantime, we’re offering virtual visits so Dr. Mack can monitor your treatment and provide any advice to keep your smile healthy at home. Just go to our website, send us several photos following the instructions, and we’ll get back to you as soon as Dr. Mack has examined your smile. We’ll let you know if there are any adjustments to be made while you wait to come in and see us again.
We’re all a little more anxious than usual at COVID-19 and we don’t want your orthodontic treatment to be another source of stress. By knowing how to handle any situation, you’ll be well prepared for a smile filled future.