The following brief outline describes how dental emergencies are handled with patients in orthodontic appliances. Dental emergencies while wearing braces or other orthodontic appliances fall into two categories:
- Direct injuries to the mouth and teeth
- Emergencies related to orthodontic appliances
Direct injuries to the mouth and teeth:
Following a direct injury to your mouth or 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 ascertain the extent of 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. Please 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 next visit to their office.
Emergencies related to orthodontic appliances:
Broken or disturbed appliances are likely to occur from time to time during your orthodontic care. If there are any disturbances, such as loose bands, broken or poking wires, call our office as soon as possible so we can 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 Tie Wire is irritating your mouth, cover it with wax or tuck it under the arch wire using a blunt object like a pencil eraser or a Q-Tip.
A Loose Band or Bracket can generally be left in place until seen in our office. Call the office as soon as you notice a loose band or bracket so we can schedule you to be seen to reattach the loose appliance.
A Broken Archwire, 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 Facebow or Removable Appliance that is not fitting well, should not 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 face bow or removable appliance adjusted.
After office hours
Our office is generally open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday mornings, and emergency time is held open during each day so that we may schedule you as soon as possible during normal clinic hours.