What Is a Braces Emergency?

Accidents happen. From a face-first fall to a lapse in dental hygiene or eating something you shouldn’t, sometimes oral issues suddenly rear their head. If you’re unsure of what warrants an extra trip to your orthodontist and what can wait until your next appointment, check out this handy guide.

Discomfort Is Usually Not a Braces Emergency

Discomfort with braces is very normal, especially within the first few days of starting treatment or following a routine adjustment. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a dental emergency on your hands. As any orthodontist will tell you, the best thing to do is to either use a topical pain relief gel or take an over-the-counter pain relief medication such as ibuprofen. If the discomfort is on the inside of your cheek or part of your tongue, putting a little orthodontic wax on the brackets in that area can also help.

However, if you feel the pain is severe or is lasting more than a week, you should call your orthodontist for advice.

Loose Wires and Broken Brackets

Loose wires are a common problem among braces wearers. Wires can come loose after eating especially sticky foods or fiddling with your braces. Sometimes, these wires can cause irritation, sores, and even bleeding in the inside of the mouth. Before you pick up the phone, try using a Q-tip to push the loose wire back towards the teeth, or clip the end of the wire with a pair of nail clippers. This should at least stop the uncomfortable poking. Dental wax will help shield any affected areas from more irritation so they can heal quicker.

In general, a broken or loose bracket is not an orthodontic emergency. Unless the bracket causes severe pain or hangs down and interferes with eating, it can be fixed at your next regularly scheduled visit.

Knocked out or Broken Permanent Tooth

What we typically think of as braces-related emergencies can luckily either be solved at home or with a bit of time. Most orthodontic emergencies aren’t very severe. However, dental emergencies like a broken or knocked out tooth must be addressed immediately by your orthodontist or dentist. Often, you may get referred to your orthodontist first if you need certain parts of your braces removed so the dentist can get to the root of the problem.

If a permanent tooth is knocked out, then it’s an emergency call to the dentist. When faced with a missing tooth, time is of the essence. It’s important to save the tooth if you can, depending on the state of the root of the tooth, because your dentist may be able to reattach your tooth.

All in all, dental emergencies affect your overall oral health and can lead to the loss of teeth if you don’t seek help. With most orthodontic issues you aren’t in danger of losing any teeth. Braces issues are just like any other kind of issue, you must use your best judgment in deciding what is truly an emergency. However, if you have any questions, your team at Smith Orthodontics is here to help.