How To Identify & React To An Emergency

Orthodontic emergencies.Orthodontic treatment on its own is extremely safe and harmless, with most patients feeling nothing more than some minor discomfort over the course of a few days as their teeth first adjust. Not only are braces designed to be and comfortable, but your orthodontist will also do everything they can to ensure that your treatment experience is smooth sailing all the way to your new smile. While orthodontic emergencies are extremely rare since they require things like a strong impact to your teeth or an infection in your gums, they can happen, which is why it's important to understand what constitutes an actual emergency and what you do if you find yourself dealing in the middle of one.

If you think you have an orthodontic emergency on your hands, the first step in the process is determining the severity of the problem, classifying it as either a major or minor emergency. If it is a major emergency, it will require immediate medical attention, but minor problems typically can be treated with at-home methods followed up by an in-office appointment. Below is a guide on how to identify various types of orthodontic emergencies and what actions you should take, courtesy of Lindsey Orthodontics, your local Griffin and Locust Grove, GA smile experts.

What Counts As A Major Orthodontic Emergency

As we already mentioned, true orthodontic (or dental) emergencies are pretty rare, since they require some specific circumstances such as a strong impact to the face or the development of an infection. The types of major emergencies include:

  • Trauma Or Injury To The Teeth, Face Or Mouth
  • Infection Or Swelling Of The Gums, Mouth, Or Face
  • Severe, Unmanageable Discomfort Or Pain Of The Teeth, Mouth, Or Face

If you experience any of the emergencies listed above, the first thing that you should do is seek medical assistance immediately from a dentist or by going to the emergency room, whichever is the closest available option at the time. Dentists are trained to handle a wide range of dental problems, and are often more equipped with the treatments and technology necessary to treat the injury, infection, or pain. By going to the emergency room, you will be able to receive some immediate medical assistance, but you may still require treatment from a dentist to effectively treat any problems that need to fixed right away. Once the initial treatment is taken care of, you would then schedule an appointment with your orthodontist to perform any adjustments to your smile or to your orthodontic appliance if necessary.

Common Minor Orthodontic Treatment Issues

Compared to the major emergencies that we mentioned above, most issues that patients experience during orthodontic treatment are very minor. While lacking in severity, they can still create a degree of discomfort that should still be treated, since orthodontic treatment is meant to be comfortable and pain free. If you do experience any heightened level of discomfort during your treatment, or have any of the issues listed below, don't hesitate to contact us at Lindsey Orthodontics and get assistance from a member of our friendly and knowledgeable staff while also schedule an appointment for a visit to one of our local office in Griffin or Locust Grove, GA. Here are some of the most common minor issues during orthodontic treatment, along with some tips on how they can be treated at home.

Brackets, Bands Or Wires Are Loose Or Broken

This is one of the most common issues that we see with patients in braces, and its typically caused by eating hard or sticky foods. While the brackets wires are durable, they're not indestructible, and they can easily be dislodged from your teeth with enough force. If a band or bracket falls off but is still attached to the wire, just leave it as it is and don't connect any elastics to it. If the brackets or band has completely come off, do your best to locate it and hold onto it so you can bring it with you into your appointment with us. If the dislodged bracket, band or wire is irritating the soft tissue inside your mouth, you can use some orthodontic wax to cover it and prevent it from causing any further damage or irritation.

Misplaced Or Poking Archwire, Bracket Or Tie

As the shape of your smile changes while you wear your braces, the length of the archwire will stay the same, which will often result in the wire poking the inside of the cheeks or the tissue near the back of the mouth. Typically, the wire will only cause some minor irritation, and can easily be fixed with a few easy at-home methods. First, you can try to move the wire by using a pencil eraser, Q-tip, or a pair of tweezers, pushing into a position that is no longer poking you. Second, you can try to cut the end of the wire by using a nail clipper that has been sterilized in alcohol (to prevent infection). Before you try to cut the wire, we recommend that you contact us and get guidance from a member of our staff to ensure that you do not cut off too much of the wire. Another simple solution is to cover the end of the wire with some orthodontic wax, which can prevent irritation until you come in for your appointment.

General Tooth Discomfort Or Teeth That Feel Loose

While you're wearing your braces, you may feel as if your teeth are coming slightly loose, but this is actually to be expected because your teeth need to be loosened a bit in order to move into their new ideal positioning. So that means when your teeth feel a little loose, the braces are working! However, this movement is often paired with some discomfort, especially if you just got your braces or just had them tightened, so here are a few ways you can alleviate that.

To combat soreness and discomfort, we often recommend an over-the-counter pain reliever, which should provide sufficient relief until the pain subsides. Another quick and easy at-home method that could help with the discomfort is a simple salt water rinse, twice each day. All you have to do is mix one teaspoon of salt into an 8-ounce glass of warm water until it dissolves, and then rinse with it for 30 seconds. Heat is also a great source of relief, so applying a warm washcloth or a heating pad on the affected area can help.

Contact Us For Emergency Orthodontic Care!

If you have any questions about how to identify or react to an orthodontic emergency, or you have experienced an emergency and need to schedule an appointment for orthodontic care, contact us at Lindsey Orthodontic today! We've worked with countless families over the years, helping them achieve the healthiest smiles possible with reliable, professional orthodontic care for all ages out of our two local offices here in Locust Grove and Griffin, GA. We look forward to helping you achieve your best smile and providing you with the superior care that our practice is known for in our community.

Lindsey Orthodontics

  • Griffin Office - 120 W. College St., Suite A, Griffin, GA 30224 Phone: 770-228-1223
  • Locust Grove Office - 4600 Bill Gardner Pkwy, Suite 100, Locust Grove, GA 30248 Phone: 770-914-7994

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