Emergency Care

Occasionally, orthodontic patients will experience an injury to the mouth during treatment. Emergencies related to braces and appliances, or the mouth and teeth can occur.

Emergencies related to braces or appliances

Sometimes, braces or appliances might become bent or broken during orthodontic care. If there are any disturbances, such as broken or poking wires, loose brackets, or loose bands, please call our office. Often, issues can be addressed over the phone. If not, we will schedule an appointment during patient hours. Even if a regular appointment is already scheduled and approaching, we recommend a call is made to ensure adequate time is allowable for repairs. If an orthodontic emergency occurs after business hours, our voicemail will provide further instructions. For the convenience of both scheduled and emergency patients, it is not possible to handle emergencies on a walk-in basis. In the meantime, here are some helpful hints to remedy some of the problems that may be encountered, until the patient can be seen in our office:

  • Sores in the mouth from braces: Place wax over brackets to ease any pain. A warm, salt water rinse can also be used 2-3 times per day (1 tsp. salt to 8 oz. warm water).
  • A long pokey wire: Cover with wax.
  • A broken, or loose, bracket or band can generally be left in place until seen in our office. Wax can be placed to hold in place if it becomes irritating.
  • Sore teeth in general: Take ibuprofen or acetaminophen, or other over the counter pain medication for relief.

Watch the video below that explains how to handle an orthodontic emergency.

Direct injuries to the mouth and teeth

Following a direct injury to the mouth or teeth, whether undergoing orthodontic care or not, immediately ice the injured area and contact your regular dentist as soon as possible. Usually an x-ray of the involved tooth or teeth is needed to determine the extent of injury. If a tooth has been displaced, knocked out, or fractured, it is best to contact your family dentist first, since we may not have the necessary materials or anesthesia required to treat these injuries. If the brackets or appliances are dislodged or displaced, we will need to replace or adjust them as soon as possible after being seen at the general dentist, depending upon the comfort level of the patient.

Emergencies after office hours

If an orthodontic emergency arises where the patient is in pain after hours, please contact our office.  Information is available, via voicemail, regarding who to contact for further assistance.