Common Orthodontic Emergencies

Receiving orthodontic treatment is an exciting experience. You wear braces or clear aligners to get a straighter smile that you can feel confident showing. As your braces or aligners put pressure on your teeth, you may experience tenderness and soreness in your mouth. You may think this is an orthodontic emergency at first, but this discomfort is normal. Your mouth will toughen, and discomfort will decrease over time.

So, What Is An Orthodontic Emergency?

Orthodontic emergencies are rare events that cause extreme discomfort, worry, or even danger to the wearer. We at Murphy Orthodontics care about your well-being as you continue your journey with braces or aligners, so we compiled this guide to help you know what to do if you have an orthodontic emergency at home. In addition, we’ll cover the best practices for handling orthodontic emergencies so you can keep your progress going and achieve the smile of your dreams.

What Should I Do In An Orthodontic Emergency?

One thing to keep in mind during an orthodontic emergency is to remain calm. These issues are not usually life-threatening. The biggest concern is that your teeth-straightening progress could be disrupted without a timely repair. This could set you back on your timeline, but it’s nothing to be too concerned about. If you think you’re experiencing an orthodontic emergency, stay composed as you take your next steps. You can resolve many of these issues yourself at home.

The next thing you should do is call Murphy Orthodontics. We’re here to answer your questions over the phone, so you know how to handle a variety of orthodontic emergencies. If you need professional help in the New Orleans area, we can schedule an appointment to get you into our office as soon as possible. In the meantime, feel free to use this guide for steps you can take during orthodontic emergencies.

Common Orthodontic Emergencies or Problems

Here are some common orthodontic emergencies you might experience at home and ways you can handle them:

1. Disconnected Rubber Band

Rubber bands are a standard part of orthodontic treatment. Orthodontists use them to apply extra pressure to certain areas of the mouth in patients with standard braces or clear aligner trays. If one of these rubber bands disconnects, you can try reconnecting it. The brackets that need the rubber band usually have small protrusions for the rubber band to hook onto.

Some standard braces use tiny rubber bands to hold the wire to the brackets. Losing these rubber bands can result in slowed progress if not addressed within a few days. If a rubber band that holds the wire to the bracket disconnects, you may need to call Murphy Orthodontics for a repair.

2. Loose Wires or Brackets

Orthodontists use a unique adhesive to connect brackets to the center of your teeth. They then attach a wire to these brackets to shift your teeth into a straighter position. If the wires or brackets of your braces come loose during treatment, you could experience a significant setback in your progress.

Loose brackets disconnect from the tooth and can no longer apply pressure to it. The brackets then shift their positions, which can cause discomfort to the inside of your lips or cheeks. Instead, use the wax your orthodontist gives you to cover the loose bracket. This will protect your mouth from its sharp edges. Then call Murphy Orthodontics right away to schedule an appointment to repair the loose bracket.

3. Broken Wires

The wire in your braces is essential for the tooth-straightening process. The wire goes through each bracket, straightening your teeth by applying gradual pressure. This wire is durable, but abrupt force can cause it to break between brackets. Make sure you wear a mouthguard when playing sports or other high contact activities to protect your orthodontic appliances. These activities are the most common reason for broken wires. Schedule an appointment right away to fix your broken wire.

4. Irritated Cheeks or Lips

It’s common for people to experience irritated cheeks or lips shortly after getting braces for the first time. This is because braces have rough edges and occasional pointy wires, and the inside of your mouth has soft flesh. You may feel some discomfort from your braces moving against the soft flesh on the inside of your mouth.

You can use orthodontic wax to help ease this discomfort. Roll some wax into a ball the size of a small pea and flatten it over the brackets, irritating the inside of your mouth. If you accidentally swallow the wax, it’s okay — it’s harmless to ingest.

5. Protruding Wires

The wire connecting the brackets of your braces can shift over time. This could lead to wire sticking out of the last bracket on the left or right side of your mouth. This protruding wire can cause discomfort as it pokes into the back of your mouth when you talk or eat.

First, try applying some wax to the end of the wire for a temporary fix. Then call Murphy Orthodontics to schedule an appointment to adjust or trim your wire. We’ll do our best to get you into our office as soon as possible to help make your orthodontic treatment more comfortable.

6. Swallowed Orthodontic Appliance Piece

There could be times when you wake in the morning or finish a meal and notice a piece of your braces is missing. This could be a bracket or rubber band. If you can’t find the piece, you may have swallowed it. On the other hand, if you’re having difficulty breathing, you may have pulled the piece into your airways.

Remember to remain calm. Contact us immediately, and we will get you in for an emergency visit. We’ll help you every step of the way and make sure you get the treatment you need. Most of the time, swallowing a piece of your braces is harmless. But it’s still wise to let us see the issue so we can repair your braces and make sure there’s no danger from swallowing the piece.

Call Murphy Orthodontics in the Event of an Orthodontic Emergency

Murphy Orthodontics is here for you during any orthodontic emergency you may experience. Dr. Murphy and our skilled team care about your comfort and peace of mind. When you walk through our doors, we want you to feel at home.

Dr. Murphy grew up in the New Orleans area, and he’s happy to serve the community where he was born and raised. Contact us today if you’re experiencing an orthodontic emergency or want more information about how we can help you reach your smile goals.