Real orthodontic emergencies are in fact pretty rare, however wearing braces or using other orthodontic devices and appliances for the first time can take a little getting used to, and very occasionally devices and braces need some adjustment. Many emergencies can be prevented by following usage guidelines for the specific braces or appliance, and it's important to follow our advice on foods to avoid to minimise the possibility of damage.
In this section we run through some of these situations with some advice on the best course of action.
Medical / Dental Emergencies
There are some instances which are genuine medical/dental emergencies and should be treated as such. If any of the following occur, we recommend you either go to the emergency departments at your nearest hospital or arrange an urgent appointment with your dentist. The following fall into this category…
- Any injury to the mouth, face or teeth.
- Severe pain (not relieved by normal pain medication) in or around the mouth, face or teeth.
- Swelling / infection of the mouth, face or gums.
Loose / broken parts
Braces and other orthodontic appliances have a number of different parts, which can break or loosen. These parts include…
- Wires (including archwires).
Most issues with these components are caused by eating hard or sticky food (see our advice on foods to avoid) or by simply 'messing around' with the braces.
If any component comes completely loose, keep it so that a proper repair can be carried out when you come in for an appointment. In some cases, where the braces or appliances are working and teeth start to change position, the archwire can start to poke the cheek or the back of the mouth. In these cases, orthodontic wax can be used in the interim to coat any part that is causing irritation or pain, until you next come in. There are also some temporary fixes - which we can advise you about over the phone - which can tide you over until you next come in.
Soreness in mouth / loosening of teeth
Some of this is inevitable as the braces or other devices start to take effect. It can also be a little painful biting down for up to a week after fitting or after any adjustments. The best treatment in all cases is to take over the counter pain medication and apply a warm flannel/ heated pad to the face to ease the pain.
A saltwater rinse (a teaspoon of salt mixed into a glass of water) rinsed around the mouth for 30 seconds twice a day can also help alleviate any soreness or pain. If none of these treatments work and/or the pain continues or gets worse, you should call us or your dentist.
Teeth may feel a little more mobile as the ligament around the root becomes thicker and the space between the root and bone becomes wider.
Ulcers / swollen gums
The saltwater rinse described above is the best treatment, alternatively you can use a medicated mouthwash. If there is no improvement, you should call us or your dentist.