How to Handle Orthodontic Emergencies at Home

We want every Designer Smiles by Benton patient to feel confident and informed about their treatment in these confusing times. Whether you’re closer to the beginning or the end of your treatment, knowing how to handle orthodontic emergencies can provide a sense of security between visiting our office. It should put your mind at ease to know those true orthodontic emergencies are rare, though they can happen. Knowing what to do in the unlikely event of an emergency can make the experience less stressful and easier to handle safely. But what do we mean by “true orthodontic emergency”? In general, this would include any of the following:

  • Serious injury or trauma to the face, neck, mouth, teeth, or gums
  • Swelling, infection, or bleeding of the gums or mouth
  • Severe pain or discomfort in your teeth, mouth, face, or neck

If you experience any of these problems, call us as soon as you can to schedule an emergency appointment. We will make sure that you’re the only patient in the office, and we will adhere to the highest standards of sanitation and disinfection, as we always do. If you’re worried that your treatment will be interrupted by an orthodontic emergency, that is generally not the case. Once the problem is resolved, your treatment will continue as planned. 

Orthodontic Emergencies

How to handle minor “emergencies” at home

Of course, you don’t want to put your health at risk by coming into our office when it’s not absolutely necessary. The good news is that many issues can be handled in the comfort of your own home. These home remedies might not always be able to eliminate all the pain, discomfort, or irritation you’re experiencing. Still, they can be very efficient at lessening symptoms until we can see you in our office.

Below you’ll find a list of the most common minor “emergencies” that many patients experience. Keep reading for more information about them, including what you can do if they happen to you!

Mouth sores

Some people are prone to mouth sores, and wearing braces can irritate sensitive areas and exacerbate the issue. If you’re prone to ulcers on your cheeks, lips, tongue, or gums while wearing braces, try swabbing a topical anesthetic on the sore. You can also cover your bracket or aligner with orthodontic wax to ease the irritation. 

Loose or broken brackets, bands, or wires

You should always let us know if a part of your braces comes loose or breaks, even if it doesn’t require an immediate trip to our office. There are a few things to consider while you’re at home in the meantime. 

If a band or bracket is broken but still attached to the wire, try to leave it alone until we can see you. Don’t connect any elastics to a broken or loose part of your braces. If this begins to irritate the inside of your mouth, you can cover that part with orthodontic wax. If a piece has actually broken off, please place it in a bag and bring it with you to your appointment.

Misplaced archwire, bracket, or tie

As your teeth move during your treatment, the archwire that connects your brackets might move as well, making it poke out in the back of your mouth. If this causes irritation, move the wire into a better spot using the eraser end of a pencil or cotton swab. 

If your wires or ties have gotten out of place, you can often put them back in place with a pair of clean tweezers or the eraser end of a pencil. If any part of your braces is irritating your mouth, try putting some orthodontic wax over parts that are poking out. 

This will help relieve the immediate discomfort, but be sure to contact us as soon as you can, so Dr. Benton or Dr. Barry can assess the problem and correct it.  

Tooth pain or loose teeth

It may seem counterintuitive, but it’s actually good for your teeth to loosen slightly during orthodontic treatment. It’s part of how the process works! However, this movement can cause tenderness. Saltwater rinses have long been proven as a great home remedy to relieve soreness. Simply mix one teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water, then swish it around your mouth for about 30 seconds. A warm washcloth or a warm heating pad placed on the outside of your jaw can offer some relief as well!

orthodontic emergencies

Designer Smiles is here to help 

Although true orthodontic emergencies are rare, they do happen from time to time. If you experience one, you should seek treatment from experienced and qualified orthodontists like Dr. Benton or Dr. Barry as soon as possible. 

We know that even minor emergency situations can be upsetting when you can’t come in to see us. To help us stay connected, we’re offering virtual visits so our doctors can keep an eye on your progress. If you’re concerned about any part of your treatment, or just want some assurance that your smile goals are on track, head to our website and follow the instructions to send us a few photos of your mouth. We’ll let you know if there are any adjustments to be made while you wait to come in and see us again. 

We create beautiful smiles every day for patients of all ages, and that process doesn’t have to be painful. If you’ve been experiencing any discomfort with your braces, or are having trouble with any other aspect of your orthodontic treatment, get in touch with us today. We’ll help you get to the bottom of it, and have you smiling again in no time!