How to Manage Orthodontic Emergencies? A DIY Guide

Orthodontic treatments tend to last long periods, making it normal for people to have emergencies from time to time. Some of those emergencies will require patients to visit their dental office. And some others will need to be dealt with at home, at least momentarily.

The most common orthodontic emergencies are related to traditional braces. Loosen brackets or archwires, missing elastic bands, and so on. That’s why it is important to have your dental office number and emergency protocols available.

A good dental practice should have emergency services since they are so common. Although twenty-four hours of service it’s not necessary, the possibility of attending to your problem as soon as possible is mandatory.

Before taking action, and if it’s possible at the moment, always try to seek help or search for what to do in your circumstances. 

Perhaps you can’t pay a quick visit to your doctor since you are on vacation, and that’s okay. You should be able to give them a call to talk about the problem and get instructions to follow – what to do, where to go.

Google is also a good partner in situations like this. But keep in mind that experts are the only reliable source when it comes to oral health and orthodontic emergencies. Following random advice from inexperienced sources like neighbors or grandparents can be prejudicial.

On the other hand, if you are a doctor, orthodontist, or dentist, you must assemble a team prepared to help with orthodontic emergencies. Find the best channels for them to reach for help.

As patients, all we want is to receive treatment in the smoothest way possible. If a treatment causes pain, provide your patients with the means to ease it. If you are an orthodontist who works with orthodontic appliances such as metal braces, you ought to have quickly activated protocols for issues like broken archwires so your patients won’t suffer unnecessarily.

With this guide, we will focus on those orthodontic emergencies that will need immediate attention and what to do when you are away from home traveling.

What Are Common Orthodontic Emergencies?

We can divide orthodontic emergencies into three big categories. The first one would be emergencies that can be treated at home, sort of a DIY tutorial. The second one is for emergencies that require a visit to the orthodontist. And the third one is related to emergencies that need immediate medical attention.

Loose Wire

This is so common that orthodontists usually provide their patients with special wax they can put on the loose ends of the metal wires so that they won’t cause an injury to your mouth or gums. In most cases, this is not an actual emergency since it can be dealt with pretty easily, and its consequences are often mild.

However, do not leave any discomfort regarding this matter unattended. A loose wire can perch your gums or lips and cause ulcerations.

Apply Wax

You’ll see the special wax your orthodontist gives you can solve many problems related to your dental appliances. What you have to do in this case is stick a dot of wax where the loose wire is causing pain. This will help with sharp ends and poking.

Lost Bracket

When you wear braces for two or three years or more is completely normal to have some of them detach from your teeth from time to time. This can be expected even more if you are using ceramic braces since these are a little fragile.

Although this issue is common, you ought to be careful with your orthodontic appliances and avoid food and habits that can interfere with your treatment plan.

Wounds or Irritations

Another quite common emergency. Depending on the level of discomfort or pain, you will have to visit your orthodontist’s practice. Physical accidents can cause you broken wires or broken brackets.

Severe Injuries

If you had an accident that caused a cracked or fractured tooth or gum injury, or you directly lost a tooth, get emergency help as soon as possible.

Heavy Bleeding

If you have a traumatic injury and you have severe bleeding and pain in your mouth, you should visit an ER room. This is NOT an orthodontic emergency; instead, you’re facing a dental emergency that could prove life-threatening.

Call Your Ann Arbor Orthodontist

A fallen bracket doesn’t have to translate into a problem for your orthodontic treatment. What you have to do is call your doctor and tell them about the incident so they can measure if you need to pay a visit before your next scheduled check-up.

Use a Nail Clipper in Case of an Emergency

Since these dental appliances are so close to your gums, lips, and tongue, an accident can easily turn into a wound. If a metal wire is pricking and it’s causing bleeding or intense pain, you can try to apply a piece of wax or trim it with a clean nail clipper.

Emergency Appointment With Your Dentist

These might be problems for a dentist rather than an orthodontist to solve. Call your family doctor as soon as possible and follow their instructions. If you have lost a tooth sometimes, your dentist can reinsert it. X-rays might also be necessary.

ER Level Emergencies

Severe bleeding probably means you need stitches and an expert check-up. Again, X-rays may be necessary, as well as an evaluation in case of concussion. Go directly to your nearest ER.

If you swallowed an orthodontic appliance like a bracket and experience trouble breathing, go immediately to the ER room cause the piece might be stuck somewhere in your breathing system. Luckily the case would be a swallowed bracket, and you’ll have to wait until your body gets rid of it, but don’t take chances with this.

Rely on Experts

Having a dentist and orthodontist, you can trust and rely on is important since these are all common emergencies. Contact our team to solve any further doubts regarding your dental care.