An orthodontic emergency can happen at any time – and it’s important to see your orthodontist as soon as possible if you’re experiencing one! Here’s how to identify these emergencies and what to do.
What is an orthodontic emergency?
This is an incident where your braces or orthodontic device is damaged or broken, or when your mouth or gums are in a lot of pain. These emergencies can happen to adults and children during treatment, and typically they involve:
- Infection or abscesses around the teeth or gums
- Broken braces
- Incorrect movement of the wire or device
- Broken retainers
- Protruding wires
- Swelling or broken skin
If you have pain, signs of bleeding, swelling or have lost/damaged your orthodontic device, it’s important to see your orthodontist as soon as you can.
How to manage different types of orthodontic emergencies
Depending on the type of emergency, you can take steps before your appointment to assist with the treatment. This is especially important if the emergency causes physical trauma or if it occurs outside of office hours.
- Protruding wire – If the wire isn’t causing you discomfort or pain, it still won’t be properly supporting your treatment and may loosen further and cause injury. Try to book an appointment as soon as it is convenient for you.
If the wire is causing an injury, try to twist it gently using a cotton bud or the back of your toothbrush to move it into a more comfortable position. You can also put some dental wax on the sharp end. It’s best to make an appointment to fix it as soon as possible.
- Physical trauma – Whether it’s from taking a knock in a sports game or anything else, it’s important to see your orthodontist as quickly as possible after experiencing any damage to your mouth. This is because the braces may have been knocked out of position or damaged, which is likely to cause you discomfort and set back your treatment if it is left alone.
If a tooth has been knocked out, rinse it in a saline solution and store it in a small container with milk or saline in it. Get to your dentist or orthodontist as quickly as you can, as it may bepossible to save the tooth if you get treatment quickly.
For athletes, it’s highly recommended that you get a mouthguard to protect your teeth and gums during sport. Even minimal contact sports like running, basketball, and tennis can result in an injury to the mouth. Because you have braces, the injury can be more severe, with the wires and device hurting the soft tissue of your mouth. The good news is your orthodontist can design a comfortable and effective mouthguard that you can use while undergoing orthodontic treatment!
- Loose or broken brackets – This is one of the most common orthodontic emergencies, as brackets can become loose or break over the course of treatment if you eat crunchy or very sticky foods. It can cause you discomfort and it will set back your treatment if it isn’t fixed quickly, so make an appointment with your orthodontist as soon as you can.
- Infection – Whether it is from trapped food, not cleaning your braces well enough, or an injury, an infection is painful and can put your tooth and gum health at risk. If your gums are swollen, red, and painful or you see white lumps in your gums (abscesses), it’s time to see your dentist as soon as you can.
This can also be caused by brushing your teeth too hard or flossing incorrectly, so it’s a good time to get some tips from your orthodontist on how to clean your braces the right way.
Visit Orthodontic Specialists of Melbourne in Frankston for the best tooth alignment treatments
Friendly and welcoming, our Frankston orthodontic clinic provides the very best in expert orthodontic services for children and adults.
Did you know that you can get a free consultation where we’ll evaluate your teeth and make recommendations for any necessary orthodontic treatments? We can help advise you on oral health as well as products like braces and Invisalign to help you get the smile you want! Contact us today to find out why we’re the best clinic to get Invisalign or braces in Frankston.