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How to Handle Orthodontic Emergencies

How to Handle Orthodontic Emergencies


When you start wearing orthodontics, you should expect not only to have your teeth fixed but also to encounter a few issues along the way. Orthodontic emergencies might occur, and it would help to be prepared to handle them when they do happen. The fact that you know how to deal with these potential emergencies can make their occurrence less stressful because you already have a good idea on what to do.

How to Handle an Orthodontic Emergency

If you are new to orthodontics, you might not have any idea what a real orthodontic emergency is. It might still be confusing whether an issue requires immediate medical attention or can hold off until further observations. For instance, a chipped off tooth might not need a trip to the dentist, but a heavily swollen jaw, gum or mouth might call for immediate medical attention because of the risk of an infection or a more severe disease. This article seeks to help you deal with different orthodontic emergencies.

Identify the Current Situation

There are several cases of orthodontic emergencies you should prepare for. But the first step in handing one is to identify the nature of the crisis and its circumstances. It may involve bleeding in the mouth or swallowing parts of the device.

If you don’t want to be caught unprepared during an emergency, you should know what potential issues might pop up with orthodontics. It helps to be familiar with what can be considered as a normal effect of wearing braces and as a side effect that needs serious medical attention. Learn to determine what orthodontic emergency you’re experiencing and what you can do about it.

Missing or Broken Ligatures

You noticed one of the rubber bands or wires is missing or broken from your braces, so should you visit your orthodontist? This is quite a common occurrence as the ligature, also known as an O-ring, may move from its original position in the bracket. You can correct this by pulling it back or bending it to that same position using sanitised tweezers.

It’s a different story if a ligature is missing because it needs to be replaced for the braces to work. If you’re missing one from the back, you might be able to put it off for days or weeks because no one will notice. But if it’s located in the front, you should get it replaced as soon as possible.

Be careful of what you eat to lessen the damage on your ligatures. Loose or missing ligatures should be fixed or replaced to maintain sturdy braces that won’t break easily.

Poking Wires

This is yet another typical orthodontic emergency that needs to be resolved right away, or it will keep causing discomfort the more the wire pokes at your mouth. A quick remedy would be to bend the stray wire until its tip points to the tooth surface instead of a sensitive part of the mouth. You can use a pencil eraser for the task.

If the archwire is too hard to bend, at least cushion the mouth from its pointy end by wrapping it with an orthodontic wax until you can book an appointment with your orthodontist.

Another solution is to cut the overly extended wire, but this also puts you at risk of cutting a part of your mouth. The first two options are still much safer to do.

Food Stuck in Your Braces

It can get quite embarrassing to realise that you have been smiling and talking with food stuck between your teeth or archwires. This is not an emergency, but it is still an issue. It might even become a severe cavity issue if not addressed the proper way. Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to resolve this problem. Remove any remnants of your previous meals using a toothpick or dental floss with a small knotted part.

Mouth Sores from Braces

Brackets and wires may irritate the inner part of your mouth and lips until they become painful sores. If left alone, they might become infected. Locate the part of the braces that is irritating the mouth and cover it with an orthodontic wax until your next orthodontist appointment. Try applying a topical anaesthetic to the wounds to help them dry up and heal. But if they grow even bigger and more painful, call your orthodontist to ask about better oral care tips.

Sore Mouth After Braces Adjustments

After getting your braces tightened, you can expect tooth pain and sore mouth. Tell your orthodontist about the discomfort. It also helps to gargle some warm water with salt, cool your mouth with your favourite ice cream, or enjoy a bowl of soup. While you still have mouth sensitivities, try a soft food diet. Some over-the-counter ibuprofen or aspirin would help with the pain, too.

Damaged Elastics or Chains

Braces have elastics to direct the jaw and teeth to their intended position to create your perfect smile. They might break, so they are going to need a replacement. You can ask your orthodontist for extra elastics and make sure to schedule an appointment before you use up all your elastic bands.

Broken or Loose Brackets or Bands

Loose brackets usually happen when you keep munching on crunchy or hard food. They can separate from the tooth, which needs to be corrected at the soonest time possible. Or you can try to put the brackets back to their original place with a pair of tweezers. They need to be positioned at the middle of the tooth until your orthodontist can bond them again. The quicker you can see your orthodontist, the faster your teeth can get back to your treatment plan. Doing so also lowers the risk of an oral injury.

Orthodontic Emergency? Contact an Orthodontist

Have you encountered any of these issues? Book an appointment with an Orthodontist in Sidcup. They will tell you additional remedies you can do at home until you can visit their office to get professional help. The faster you act on an emergency, the faster you can get over the discomfort and pain caused by the orthodontic device. Call an orthodontist now!

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