How to Deal with Orthodontic Emergencies

Orthodontics is the science of aligning and straightening the teeth for both aesthetic and functional purposes. Braces are the most common tools used to straighten your teeth along with retainers afterward. From a parent's perspective, gif courtesy of

the braces in a child's mouth appear to have many components. In fact, there are several metal and rubber pieces to any orthodontic treatment. All of these components work as a single unit in order to improve a person's smile. Because a child or teenager will have braces on for several months or years, it's important to know what to do in the event of orthodontic emergencies. Consider these scenarios so that you're ready for any issue that might arise.

Survey the Situation

Your child might alert you to an emergency, but that term can be used in a broad way at times. Ideally, take a basic survey of the situation by observing the child and listening to their concerns. Examples of orthodontic emergency situations include:

  • Swallowed a device
  • Active bleeding

It's important to note that real emergencies are extremely rare. The child may be concerned about some discomfort after the braces installation or adjustment, however. Expect some soreness with the treatment as the teeth are being actively placed into their proper positions. Soft foods and liquids are the best way to overcome these non-emergency situations.

Tools of the Trade

Before any emergency occurs, create an orthodontic-care kit at home. Fill it with key items suggested by your orthodontist, such as:

  • Orthodontic relief wax
  • Cotton swabs
  • Pencils
  • Tweezers

Your orthodontist doesn't want any patient altering their braces, but these tools can help you alleviate any problem before a professional visit is possible. Ideally, keep this kit in a protected area so that no dust or grease can settle on it. You want clean tools if the situation ever arises. The relief wax should be offered by your orthodontist on almost every visit. Keep these containers handy because the wax can be an instant fix for any loose or broken wires.

Noticing Sores Within the Mouth

Everyone has a different shape to their mouth and jawline. One patient may not feel the braces on the inside of the mouth, whereas another person seems to notice them all the time. On a regular basis, take a look inside the child's mouth. Evaluate the cheeks and lips for any sore. These irritated areas are not unusual, but they can be frustrating. Keep a gel anesthetic on hand so that you can apply it to these sores. They should heal relatively fast. Mention the sores to the orthodontist at the next appointment. An adjustment might be necessary to alleviate any further issue.

A Brief History of Orthodontics

Rubbing Sensations

Your child's mouth may not have sores, but he or she complains about rubbing sensations. Pull out the relief wax, and ask the child about the rubbing sensation's location. Teeth near the front of the smile tend to rub against the lips. Apply the wax against the bracket in order to alleviate the rubbing sensation. In most cases, the previous orthodontic adjustment is still trying to align those teeth. A few days might be necessary so that the teeth can move into a better position. The wax can be removed at that point.

Oral-Cavity Mishaps

A traditional orthodontic emergency requires an immediate trip to a medical professional. Several accidents might occur while the child wears the braces, including:

  • Sport injuries
  • Car accidents

If the child has trauma on or near the oral cavity, visit the doctor for an evaluation. Soft tissues will need to heal, and doctors can carefully adjust the braces back into place. To avoid most mishaps, ask the orthodontist for a mouth guard. These trays fit into the mouth and cover the teeth. A child who plays sports should always wear the guard. Other accidents in life may not be avoidable, but they're rare in occurrence.

Loose Brackets

A concerning emergency for any child is a loose bracket. The brackets are the square devices that are glued to each individual tooth. Although the adhesive is strong, the brackets might snap off during meals. Because the brackets have wires threaded through them, these parts will normally hang loose without any further problems. Visit the orthodontist as soon as possible so that the professional can reattach the bracket. This emergency is more of an annoyance than a dire circumstance.

Wire Issues

Part of orthodontic treatment is the pressure of one or more wires threaded through those brackets. These wires keep the pressure against your teeth as they move into place. It's possible for the wires to break, however, which causes one area to have a loose section. Part of the wire might stick out from the teeth. Try to bend the wire back against the tooth by using tweezers. Temporarily hold the wire in place with some relief wax, and make an appointment with the orthodontist. That wire will need to be replaced.

Missing Rubber Bands

Professionals add rubber bands during braces treatment as a way to correct several bite problems, such as:

  • Crossbites
  • Overbites
  • Underbites

The bands stretch across the teeth at various angles, which places angular force against the smile. These bands are meant to be removed and replaced by the patient as he or she eats throughout their treatment. If you lose some

Photo credit: marissa via / CC BY

bands, simply use extra ones offered by the professional. Swallowing the bands might occur, however, the items are nontoxic. You should inform your orthodontist regarding this.

Dealing with orthodontic emergencies is simple when you understand the science behind the devices. Ask the professional any questions that come to mind at each appointment. Encourage the patient to also ask questions so that everyone feels comfortable with the treatment. With diligent care and attention to detail, you can deal with any emergency by using swift action and clever fixes. To start your journey toward a brighter smile, contact Beecroft Orthodontics at 540-898-2200 today.





11113 Leavells Rd. Fredericksburg, VA 22407

Phone: 540 898 2200

How to Deal with Orthodontic Emergencies

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