Orthodontic emergencies can occur at any time during treatment and often pertain to complications with appliances. An orthodontic emergency is any circumstance that causes pain, threatens a patient’s health, or interferes with the course of orthodontic treatment. An orthodontic emergency could include:
- broken wires
- loose bands
- oral pain
- lost spacers
- loose headgear
- allergic reaction (specifically to metal appliances)
Did you know?
Not all orthodontic problems constitute an emergency. Some discomfort with the braces is normal and expected. Using wax for poking wires or appliances or taking medication that would normally alleviate a common headache may be all that is necessary. If spacers fall out they do not need to be replaced right away in most circumstances but need to be replaced approximately 3-4 days before the next scheduled appointment. If there is any question please feel free to contact our office and a staff member can assist you to determine if you need to visit the office or if there are tips to use at home.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do I do in an orthodontic emergency?
If you feel that you are experiencing a minor emergency related to your orthodontic appliance, contact your orthodontist’s office to find out when you can schedule an emergency visit. While you wait, your orthodontist may recommend temporary solutions to your emergency, such as placing wax on the end of a broken wire that is poking your gums or cheeks.
What should I expect during an emergency visit to the orthodontist?
During your visit, your orthodontist will repair or replace broken appliances. Keep in mind that broken appliances can prolong your orthodontic treatment, so speak with your orthodontist about how your emergency may affect your treatment.
How can I prevent orthodontic emergencies in the future?
Be sure to follow the instructions provided to you for caring for your orthodontic appliance. This may include avoiding hard or chewy foods like ice and caramel candies, and being sure to wear mouth guards to protect fixed appliances during high-impact activity. You should also avoid ‘playing’ with or picking at your appliances, as this can cause damage. And as always, you should continue to see your family dentist for routine cleanings and periodic check-ups throughout your course of orthodontic treatment.