Orthodontic Emergency

What to Do for Orthodontic Emergencies

Wearing braces is a responsibility that requires regular care and maintenance. Proper braces care ensures they function properly to move your teeth into position and improve your bite, keeping your teeth and gums healthy. However, certain situations can arise that require emergency care.

What Is an Orthodontic Emergency?

What is an Orthodontic Emergency?

Broken or Loose Brackets

If a bracket breaks or becomes loose, contact your orthodontist immediately. Depending on the severity of the issue, your orthodontist may need to see you right away. Your orthodontist may also recommend scheduling an appointment for a later time.

Poking Wires

If a wire is poking or rubbing against your cheeks or gums, use orthodontic wax to cover the wire until you can see your orthodontist. If the wire is causing significant pain or discomfort, contact your orthodontist to schedule an emergency appointment. Damage to the interior of your mouth can be an issue your orthodontist will want to rectify right away.

Lost or Broken Retainer

If you lose or break your retainer, contact your orthodontist to schedule a replacement as soon as possible. Going more than a few days without a retainer can cause your teeth to shift back into their original positions, especially if you recently had your braces removed. As your teeth become established in their new position, shifting may be less likely, but you should still contact your orthodontist immediately.

Suggested Reading: I Broke/Lost My Retainer – Now What

Mouth Sores or Irritation

If you develop mouth sores or irritation as a result of your braces, rinse your mouth with warm salt water and use orthodontic wax to cover any areas that are causing discomfort. If the irritation persists, contact your orthodontist for advice. This may not be an emergency, but your orthodontist should know about any discomfort.

Trauma to the Mouth or Face

If you experience trauma to your mouth or face, such as a blow to the mouth or a fall, an emergency room or urgent care visit is likely necessary first. Then, contact your orthodontist or dentist right away. They can examine your mouth and teeth to make sure there is no damage to your braces or teeth.

In general, if you experience any issue affecting your braces or experience discomfort at any time, contact your orthodontist. They can provide guidance for managing the situation and schedule an appointment if necessary.

Dealing with Discomfort from Wearing Braces

Use Orthodontic Wax for Wire Pain
Experiencing pain or discomfort is a common side effect of getting braces. However, if the pain is unbearable, contact your orthodontist to schedule an examination. In the meantime, there are several ways to manage and alleviate the pain.

Here are some tips:

    • Rinse with Salt Water – Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water can help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain.
    • Apply a Cold Compress – Using a cold compress on your cheeks can help reduce pain and swelling. You can use an ice pack or a package of frozen vegetables (peas or corn work best) wrapped in a towel.
    • Take Pain Relievers – Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help reduce pain and inflammation. Always follow the recommended dosage on the packaging.
    • Eat Soft Foods – Stick to soft foods that are easy to chew, such as soup, yogurt, mashed potatoes, and smoothies. Avoid hard, crunchy, or sticky foods that can aggravate the issue and cause more pain.
    • Use Orthodontic Wax – Apply orthodontic wax to any areas of your braces that are rubbing against your cheeks or lips and causing discomfort.
    • Practice Good Oral Hygiene – Keep your teeth and braces clean by brushing and flossing regularly. A clean mouth will be less prone to pain and discomfort.
    • Talk to Your Orthodontist – As mentioned, if the pain is unbearable or persists for an extended period, contact your orthodontist. They can examine your braces and make any necessary adjustments to reduce the discomfort.

Suggested Reading: How Often Should You Floss?

How to Address Orthodontic Emergencies

Handling orthodontic emergencies involves taking immediate action to alleviate pain, discomfort, or damage to the braces, as well as contacting your orthodontist for advice or an appointment.

Here are the steps to follow in case of an orthodontic emergency:

    • Contact Your Orthodontist – If you experience an orthodontic emergency, call your orthodontist’s office as soon as possible. Explain the situation and ask if you need to come in for an emergency appointment.
    • Follow Any Instructions Provided – Your orthodontist may provide instructions on how to temporarily fix the issue until your appointment. Follow their advice carefully to prevent further damage or discomfort.
    • Alleviate Pain and Discomfort – Use pain relievers or ice packs to alleviate any pain or discomfort caused by the emergency. You can also rinse your mouth with salt water or apply orthodontic wax to any areas that are causing irritation.
    • Protect Your Braces – If your braces are damaged or broken, try to avoid further damage by avoiding hard, crunchy, or sticky foods. Stick to soft foods that are easy to chew.
    • Keep Your Braces Clean – Maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial during orthodontic emergencies. Brush and floss regularly to prevent plaque buildup and infection.
    • Attend Your Emergency Appointment – If your orthodontist schedules an emergency appointment, be sure to attend it promptly and follow any instructions they have for you in the meantime. They will examine your braces and make any necessary repairs or adjustments to prevent further damage or discomfort.

Remember, orthodontic emergencies can happen at any time. The key is to remain calm and contact your orthodontist as soon as possible. They are there to help you and will provide guidance on how to manage the situation until you can receive proper treatment.

How to Avoid an Orthodontic Emergency

Although emergencies are not always avoidable, there are tips you can follow to avoid experiencing an orthodontic emergency.

    • Practice good oral hygiene – Brush and floss at least twice per day to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Good oral hygiene can help prevent cavities and gum disease, which can compromise the health of your teeth and gums and increase the risk of orthodontic emergencies.
    • Avoid hard, sticky, or chewy foods – These types of foods can damage or dislodge your braces, which can cause pain and delay your treatment progress. Stick to soft foods that are easy to chew and won’t put excessive pressure on your braces.
    • Wear a mouthguard when playing sports – If you play contact sports, it’s important to wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth and braces from impact. Your orthodontist can provide you with a custom-fitted mouthguard that will provide optimal protection and comfort.
    • Follow your orthodontist’s instructions – Your orthodontist will provide you with instructions on how to care for your braces and what to do in case of an emergency. It’s important to follow these instructions closely to avoid complications and keep your treatment on track.
    • Attend regular orthodontic appointments – Regular appointments with your orthodontist will allow them to monitor your progress and make any necessary adjustments to your treatment. This can help prevent issues such as broken brackets or wires, which can cause pain and delay your treatment progress.
By following these tips, you can help prevent orthodontic emergencies and keep your treatment on track.

Orthodontic Braces: Emergency FAQs

Braces Emergency FAQs
While braces emergencies don’t happen often, we are accustomed to questions about braces emergencies. Here are the most common.

Are Broken Braces an Emergency?
Broken braces can be considered an emergency, depending on the severity of the issue. If a bracket becomes loose or detached from the wire, it can cause discomfort or even damage to your teeth or gums. Also, if a wire is poking or rubbing against your cheeks or gums, it can cause pain or irritation. Finally, if you accidentally swallow a piece of a broken bracket or wire, contact your doctor immediately; then, contact your orthodontist to schedule an appointment to fix your braces.
How Easily Can Braces Break?
Braces are designed to be durable and withstand the pressure of orthodontic treatment. However, they can still break or become damaged in certain situations. For example, braces can break from eating hard or sticky foods, playing sports, accidents or trauma, improper brushing or flossing, and natural wear and tear.
Can I Eat With a Broken Bracket?
If you have a broken bracket, it’s best to avoid eating anything other than soft foods until you can see your orthodontist. Eating with a broken bracket can cause further damage to the bracket or wire, which can prolong your treatment time or even require emergency repair. In the meantime, you can use orthodontic wax to cover the broken bracket to prevent it from irritating your mouth or causing discomfort.
Is a Loose Wire an Emergency?
If the wire is poking or cutting into your gums or cheeks, causing significant discomfort or pain, or if it’s affecting your ability to eat or speak, it may be considered an emergency. In this case, you should contact your orthodontist immediately and explain the situation. They may be able to provide you with advice over the phone, or they may need you to come in for an emergency appointment to have the wire adjusted or clipped.
Do Broken Brackets Cost Money?
Yes, your orthodontist will likely charge a fee to repair or replace a bracket. The cost will depend on the severity of the damage and the type of repair needed. In some cases, the cost may be covered by your orthodontic insurance, but it’s important to check with your insurance provider to determine what is covered. It’s also important to note that if a broken bracket is left untreated, it can cause further damage to your braces or delay your treatment progress, which can result in additional costs in the long run.
Is the Metal in Braces Toxic?
No, the metal used in braces is not toxic. Braces are typically made of stainless steel, which is a biocompatible material that is safe for use in the human body. The metal used in braces has been extensively tested and is approved by regulatory agencies such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in orthodontic treatment.
Can I Have an Allergic Reaction to Braces?
It is possible for some people to have an allergic reaction to braces, although it is relatively rare. The most common allergen in braces is nickel, which is present in some types of brackets and wires. However, most people with nickel allergies do not experience any adverse reactions to their braces.

Robison Orthodontics for Emergency Care

Robison Orthodontics For Teens
If you are potentially facing a braces-related dental emergency, it is important to stay calm, call your orthodontist and follow their instructions. However, you’ll first need to know if you’re really facing a situation that needs to be rectified immediately. Contact Robison in the event of an orthodontic emergency or if you’re in need of assistance and direction as to what to do next. We’re happy to help any way we can!