It doesn’t happen very often, but major orthodontic emergencies require immediate treatment. As opposed to minor issues that can be handled yourself or at your next appointment, emergencies should be treated by a professional. Here are some ways to help you tell the difference between types of problems.
See a dentist or doctor immediately if your teeth, mouth, or jaw is directly injured. An X-ray might be required to correctly diagnose and treat your injury. If orthodontic appliances are affected, they may need adjustment or replacement.
Teeth sometimes become infected after orthodontic work. If pain or swelling occurs near a tooth and worsens, seek professional treatment as soon as you can.
Some issues arise due to normal usage, wear, and movement of your braces. Sticky or hard foods can contribute to or worsen the problems, as can overly vigorous dental hygiene tasks. These issues are usually not emergencies unless accompanied by severe or prolonged pain. Here are some common minor problems:
• Loose wire
• Poking wire
• Loose bracket
• Loose appliance
• Loose elastic band
• Broken or missing elastic band
• Ill-fitting headgear
• General discomfort or soreness
There are some remedies you can try at home to lessen your discomfort due to a minor issue until you see your orthodontist. Cover a loose wire or bracket with wax. Adjust a poking or protruding wire with clean tweezers or a cotton swab, or try clipping it gently with nail clippers. Remaining wire ends can be covered with wax. If your mouth is sore or you have areas of irritation, rinse with a saltwater mixture.