The following outline describes how dental emergencies are handled with patients in orthodontic appliances. Dental emergencies while wearing braces or other orthodontic appliances fall into two categories: 1) Direct injuries to the mouth or teeth or 2) Emergencies to orthodontic appliances.
Direct injuries to the mouth or teeth
Following a direct injury to your mouth or teeth, whether undergoing orthodontic care or not, you should be seen by your regular dentist as soon as possible. Usually a radiograph of the involved tooth, or teeth, is needed to ascertain the extent of injury. If a tooth has been knocked out, severely displaced or fractured, it is best to contact your family dentist first, since we may to have the necessary materials needed to treat these injuries. If the orthodontic appliances are dislodged or displaced, we will need to replace or adjust them as soon as possible.
Please call our office immediately after seeing your family dentist. If you are unable to reach your family dentist or an alternate emergency facility, call this office and we will assist you in locating someone to care for the injury. Please discuss potential emergency procedures with your family dentist at your next visit to their office.
Emergencies related to orthodontic appliances
Broken or disturbed appliances are likely to occur from time to time during your orthodontic care. If there is any disturbance such as loose bands, broken or poking wires, call our office as soon as possible, so we can evaluate the urgency of the problem and schedule you to be seen accordingly. If you need assistance outside business hours, please call our office. You will receive directions for assistance.
In the interim, the following are helpful hints to remedy some of the problems you may encounter until you can be seen in our office:
- If a wire is irritating your mouth, cover it with orthodontic wax.
- A loose band or bracket can generally be left in place until seen in our office. Call the office as soon as you notice a loose band or bracket so we can adjust your appointment time. Failure to notify our office regarding a loose or broken appliance may make it necessary to reschedule your repair.
- A broken archwire, or one that is irritating the gum or cheek tissue, needs to be seen as soon as possible for replacement or adjustment.
- A bent headgear or removable appliances that is not fitting well is not to be worn until it can be properly adjusted in our office. Call the office as soon as possible to schedule an appointment to have the headgear or removable appliance adjusted.