braces emergency

How to Handle a Braces Emergency

A braces emergency can seem scary, but the good news is a true emergency is rare. Most problems can be resolved at home, which can save time and provide immediate relief. However, true braces emergencies can happen. Below is a guide to provide you with an overview of what to do for common problems you may encounter and when to visit the office.

Broken brackets and wires

If you experience a wire breaking to the point where it pokes any part of your mouth, including your teeth, tongue, or gums, you should call your orthodontist. While you are waiting for your appointment, you can relieve any pain by using the eraser end of a pencil to reposition the wire away from any sensitive parts of your mouth. You can also use orthodontic wax to cover the end of the wire until your next appointment. Never cut the wire unless directed to do so by your orthodontist.

Loose brackets, bands, and bite turbos

If you have a loose band or bracket, call your orthodontist immediately to schedule an appointment. In the meantime, try using a small piece of dental wax to reattach a loose bracket. Be careful when brushing your teeth and avoid eating hard foods until you can see your orthodontist. If the problem is a disconnected band or bracket, save it to be reattached to your tooth.

If a bite turbo falls off, there is no need to schedule an appointment if the other turbo is still intact. If you lose both turbos, give the office a call.

Invisalign emergencies

The loss or damage of an Invisalign aligner is inconvenient, but not an emergency. If your Invisalign aligner gets lost or damaged, you can often wear your previous aligner if you just switched, or move on to your next aligner if it was almost time to do so. If an Invisalign attachment comes off your tooth and your next appointment is less than four weeks away, you can just wait until then to have it reattached. 

Another common issue is an ill-fitting tray, which is completely normal the first two days after you start wearing a new aligner. Of course, you will want to call the office to schedule an appointment if there will be an extended period without your aligner.

True orthodontic emergencies

If you experience any of the following, call your orthodontist immediately:

  • Swelling of your mouth or face, which can indicate an infection
  • Trauma or injury
  • Severe pain

These issues constitute a true dental emergency and require a trained professional to resolve them. While a trip to the orthodontist may be necessary, in some instances you may need to see a different doctor or specialist. If you have severe injuries to your face, teeth, mouth, or jaw, following the correct medical plan is critical.

When you call your orthodontist, be sure to explain what happened, how you are feeling, your symptoms, and what medication you’ve taken.

How to avoid orthodontic emergencies

While accidents happen, there are a few things you can do to protect your teeth, mouth, and face.

Follow care instructions: Understand and follow your orthodontist’s recommendations for the proper wear and care of your Invisalign aligner, retainer, braces, or any other orthodontic appliance, including what foods to eat or avoid and proper brushing and flossing techniques.

Wear protective mouth gear: When participating in a sport, make sure to wear an ADA-approved mouth guard. It’s essential to wear a proper fitting mouth guard to ensure your teeth, mouth, and braces are protected.

Wear a seatbelt: Wearing your seatbelt is an essential precaution to take to reduce both the likelihood and severity of an injury.

Be prepared: Create a travel orthodontic kit to bring with you in case of emergencies. This kit can include dental wax, extra rubber bands and aligners, and a mirror. This simple solution will help you handle a variety of dental emergencies while on the go.

If you wear braces or Invisalign, it’s important to not only understand how to handle an emergency, but also what constitutes an actual emergency. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact Fravel Brewer Orthodontics.

Fravel Brewer Orthodontics has been helping patients achieve beautiful smiles as the preferred orthodontist in Winter Garden, Ocoee, and West Orange County, Florida for almost 30 years. Treatment options for kids and adults include Invisalign, Invisalign Teen, ceramic braces, and silver braces. Call us at (407) 656-0001 to schedule a free consultation today!