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Orthodontic Emergencies: The Top 7 Things to Do Right Away

By October 9, 2023Blog, Orthodontics
Orthodontic Emergencies

While modern orthodontic appliances are comfortable and durable, they’re not immune to the occasional mishap. Whether you have a poking wire or sustain a dental injury while playing sports with braces, you might be wondering what the protocol is. The team at The Brace Place has you covered. Here are the top 7 things to do right away if you find yourself in the midst of a braces emergency:

1. Stay Calm

Take a deep breath. The truth is, true orthodontic emergencies are extremely rare. The majority of issues can actually be handled at home until you’re able to get to our Tulsa or Claremore orthodontic office

2. Assess the Situation

Is it a loose or broken braces bracket? Is a wire irritating your cheek? Are you experiencing discomfort because you have a piece of food stuck in your appliance? Figuring out exactly what the problem is will allow you to take the right course of action. 

Keep in mind, you should never feel severe braces pain or have any bleeding. If you do, it’s likely the result of a bigger issue like an injury or a dental infection, which brings us to our next step. 

3. Go to the ER for a True Emergency

If you’re having uncontrollable bleeding from your mouth or you suspect a concussion or fractured jaw after a blow to the face, go to the emergency room immediately. 

For signs of an oral infection (i.e., pain, fever, a pimple on the gums, a bad taste in the mouth, facial swelling, etc.) or a knocked out, displaced or fractured tooth, head to your general dentist as soon as possible. 

Oral infections can spread to the jaw and even other areas of the body, so getting treatment is key. As for a damaged tooth, the sooner you get emergency dental care, the more likely it is that the tooth can be saved. 

Once you’ve dealt with the more urgent concerns, call our office. We can repair your braces if needed to keep your treatment on track. 

4. Break Out Your Braces Wax

A loose or broken bracket on your braces can sometimes rub against the inside of your mouth. It can also leave you with excess wire. In this situation, having your braces kit on hand with some orthodontic relief wax will be super helpful. 

The wax acts as a buffer between your appliance and the soft tissues of your mouth. Plus, it’s great for holding a broken bracket in place and preventing it from spinning around on the wire. 

Before covering a loose bracket with wax, slide it back into its proper position. For a poking braces wire, it can be helpful to carefully push the wire out of the way and against the nearest tooth with the eraser end of a new pencil or a cotton swab first. 

Here’s how to use wax for braces:

  • Pull off a small piece of wax.
  • Roll it in between your fingers to warm it up. 
  • Flatten the wax against the part of your braces that’s bothering you.

Pro tip: For extra staying power, use a clean tissue or piece of gauze to dry the section of braces off prior to placing the wax. 

5. Try a Temporary Fix

Putting wax on your braces is often enough to keep you comfortable until you get to the orthodontist. However, if a poking braces wire is particularly bothersome and wax doesn’t help, you can clip it on your own. Using a pair of sterilized nail clippers, gently cut the wire close to the nearest tooth and then cover it with braces wax. 

6. Swish With Saltwater

Warm saltwater soothes irritation and reduces inflammation and bacteria. Mix ½ teaspoon of salt into eight ounces of warm water. Swish the saltwater around in your mouth for a few seconds and then spit it out. Continue until you finish the glass. You can repeat this as often as necessary. 

7. Call Your Orthodontist

After you have the immediate discomfort under control, contact our office. A friendly team member will let you know if you should come in for a repair appointment or if it’s something that can wait until your regularly scheduled visit. If you need guidance on using your braces wax or clipping a wire, call us first and we’ll walk you through it! 

Looking for an emergency orthodontist in Tulsa or Claremore?

Whether you’re a patient or you’re traveling in the area, reach out if you’re dealing with a braces emergency. Our orthodontist Dr. Anand Patel is always happy to help. Or, if you haven’t started treatment yet, book a complimentary consultation at The Brace Place today!