The following briefly 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 and teeth
2. Emergencies to orthodontic appliances.
It has been our experience over the years that very few of our patients encounter emergencies.
Following a direct injury to your mouth and 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 diagnose the extent of the injury. If a tooth has been knocked out, severely displaced, or fractured it is best to contact your family dentist first, since we may not 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; therefore we ask that you 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 try to assist you in locating someone to care for the injury. Please discuss potential emergency procedures with your family dentist at your visit to their office.
Emergencies that are related to orthodontic appliances
Broken or disturbed appliances may occur from time to time during your orthodontic care. If there are any disturbances, such as loose bands, or broken pokey wires, call our office as soon as possible so that we may evaluate the urgency of the problem and schedule you to be seen accordingly. 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-tie is irritating your mouth, cover it with wax or tuck it under the arch wire using a blunt object like a pencil or a Q-tip.
A loose band or bracket can generally be left in place until you are seen in our office. Call the office as soon as you notice a loose band or bracket so we can schedule an appointment to reattach the loose appliance.
A broken arch wire, 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, face bow, or removable appliance 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 appliance adjusted if your appliance breaks, keep all the parts and bring them with you. Resisting the foods that are on your no-no list, will greatly reduce the chance of having emergencies. Also do not play with your appliances with your hands, tongue, or any other object.