Hello, stranger! Orthodontic emergencies are undoubtedly alarming, which is why we urge all our readers to read along and learn more about what counts as an orthodontic emergency and how to react.
Our team is always willing to help any patient undergoing one such scenario, but many patients are worried they don’t know what exactly counts as an orthodontic emergency.
Before we go any further, we must remind you that if you are currently experiencing any bleeding, uncontrollable pain, or swelling in your face, you should contact an emergency care center and go there for immediate medical help.
Please keep in mind that most of these situations refer to patients wearing braces; those with Invisalign clear aligners may not even go through some of these.
Orthodontic emergencies are not life-threatening scenarios, as such, but adequately identifying one such situation may prove challenging. Let’s take a look at some alarming cases that could develop during your orthodontic care.
Examples of Orthodontic Emergencies
We’re joining our friends from the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) to explain what happens in some of the most common cases of orthodontic emergencies out there.
You should always get in touch with your orthodontist if you suspect you are undergoing any complications with your treatment. Still, as these situations are not life-threatening, you’ll be able to wait some time before seeing your orthodontist and getting a fix.
Some of these scenarios even have DIY solutions you can use at home to relieve some discomfort.
Loose or Broken Wire
If you’re using traditional metal braces, you can imagine how discomforting it can be to have a stainless steel wire poking at the inside of your cheeks.
It’s possible something in your diet helped dislodge a metal wire or broke it altogether.
An archwire is a metal piece used by orthodontists to guide your teeth and jaw movements throughout your treatment. If the wire connecting all your brackets loses integrity and breaks, your alignment care could be at risk.
Contact your orthodontist to verify if you can go to the office and have the wire replaced. Likewise, you can do a couple of things at home to minimize the discomfort you might be feeling.
Patients who report a loose or poking wire often mention feeling discomfort. Depending on the situation, you could use a pair of clippers to cut the protruding wire. Please be careful as you’ll have to be careful not to swallow the piece you cut. You could also use a blunt object to relocate the end of the wire, poking at your cheek and tucking it under another bracket.
You could push the wire with a q-tip, pencil eraser, or any other blunt object at your disposal that is clean and can be used safely by anyone close to you.
Ligatures Coming Off
Ligatures help secure the archwire to each bracket and are critical to your orthodontic care. If one of them comes off, you should immediately verify you, or whoever is the patient, hasn’t swallowed the rubber piece.
Similarly, if one ligature came off, it’s very likely others will follow. Contact your orthodontist to have all your braces reviewed at their office by the professional team at your earliest convenience.
You could take a pair of tweezers and try to relocate the ligature. It’s not very complicated if you have someone you trust who can help you through the process. Just remember to sterilize the tweezers you’ll use for this DIY project.
Just as with the two previous examples, you should pay close attention to the entire scenario and get in touch with your orthodontist. Your ceramic or metal brackets are literal foundations that anchor an archwire and enable your tooth movement.
As such, a loose bracket is an alarming matter. Usually, the bonding agent used by orthodontists is resilient and long-lasting, but it may fail if your diet includes hard or crunchy foods that leverage against your teeth and brackets.
Pieces of hard taco shells and popcorn can help loosen brackets and have them pop off, putting your treatment at risk. Be careful not to swallow a bracket, and if they come off entirely, make sure to save them and bring them with you to your next visit with the orthodontist.Sometimes, however, the bracket may remain attached to the archwire and freely dangle in front of your teeth. Just try to reposition it and hold it there until you can go to an appointment with your orthodontist.
Help With Your Dental Emergencies in Portland
Luckily, you’ve just run into the best orthodontist Portland neighbors have at their disposal. Here at Hillsdale Orthodontics, you can trust our specialists and team to help you solve your orthodontic emergencies when you require our help the most.
Please keep in mind what we mentioned before. Orthodontic emergencies are different from dental emergencies and are not life-threatening. If you notice swelling, uncontrollable pain, or unstoppable bleeding, you should immediately contact an emergency care center.
You can talk with your orthodontist later.
At least now, you know when to contact your orthodontist and that you can even wait a couple of days to go back to a specialist’s office.