It can be alarming when you find yourself in an emergency situation with your braces or orthodontics. Find out how to recognize an emergency, and what to do about it!
First, take a look at what is NOT an orthodontic emergency:
It is normal for orthodontic patients to experience different degrees of discomfort during treatment. This can include the typical mild achy-ness you'll feel after an adjustment appointment, minor lip and gum irritation as the inside of your mouth gets used to the presence of your braces, and occasional day-to-day aches and pains as your teeth move.
You can take care of this day-to-day discomfort yourself, and it is not considered an emergency.
How to soothe minor discomfort
Applying ice, or taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain killer (ibuprofen) can help reduce minor swelling and discomfort.
You can also use a salt water rinse. To make one, dissolve a ¼ teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of water. Swish a portion of it in your mouth for about 30 seconds to a minute, and then spit it out. Repeat this process until all the salt water is gone.
If you find your lips, cheeks, or gums being irritated by your braces - orthodontic wax is an excellent way to reduce irritation. Orthodontic wax creates a smooth barrier between your braces and the irritated area. Put a small piece of wax on the offending bracket or wire, and massage it into place. You can get this wax from your orthodontist or from your local pharmacy.
These minor discomforts are a normal part of orthodontic treatment. If you find that you are experiencing these types of discomfort, using the methods listed above will be perfect for alleviating some of that discomfort.
The following are what constitute an orthodontic emergency:
Any type of damage to your appliance, or severe pain that you can't take care of yourself, is an orthodontic emergency.
- A wire jabbing painfully into your cheek that you can’t bend back yourself
- Direct injuries to the mouth or teeth, including knocked out, fractured or displaced teeth and lacerations
- A loose brace, glue pad or wire retainer
- Severe pain that can’t be managed with over the counter pain killers, ice, or salt water rinses
If you experience any of the above, contact our office as soon as possible. We'll fit you in for a same-day appointment.
In the meantime, you can ice the affected area and any staunch bleeding. If you have excessive bleeding, go to the emergency room at the hospital.