Caring for Your Smile During an Orthodontic Emergency

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Sometimes when you are undergoing orthodontic treatment, the unexpected arises. Some relatively common emergencies include having a loose or broken wire or bracket causing discomfort or accidentally losing an Invisalign® aligner! You wouldn’t be the first to toss out an aligner after taking it out to eat. But don’t panic, we’ve got you covered!

When To Be Seen

Most orthodontic emergencies can wait a couple of days until you can make it into the office. Giving us a call right away allows us to get you in as soon as possible, and also lets us explain over the phone what steps you can take now to fix the issue temporarily and maintain comfort. For serious orthodontic emergencies, calling right away means we’ll be able to get you in sooner. The following situations take priority in getting you in to be treated:

  • Oral infection with swelling in your mouth or face
  • Injury or trauma to your mouth, face or teeth 
  • Severe pain in the mouth or face

Handling an Orthodontic Emergency

  • Stay calm and call our orthodontic team for assistance.
  • Explain the emergency so we can assess the problem and create a swift action plan to minimize issues.
  • Follow the directions given to the letter so you can feel better and continue your treatment, uninterrupted.

Loose brackets or bands: You may need to come in so these can be refitted properly. You may be directed to use sterilized fingernail clippers to cut the broken piece or slide a bracket off at night (or over the weekend) until you can be seen. 

Poking wires or wire irritations: To avoid irritation to your cheeks or gums, use a cotton swab or eraser to nudge it away from your oral tissues. If the wire doesn’t move for you, you can place a section of cotton or wax over it so it can’t hurt you. If that doesn’t work, try cutting it with sterile nail clippers or scissors (cleaned thoroughly and then rinsed with alcohol). 

Lost separators: Call us right away so we can determine if you need to come in and get them replaced.

Initial placement and routine adjustments: Whether you are wearing Invisalign aligners or braces, during the first week of your orthodontic treatment and after periodic routine adjustments you can expect to feel some level of soreness or discomfort. You can manage the discomfort at home with help of acetaminophen or some other kind of non-aspirin pain reliever. Applying a heating pad or warm compress on the outside of the area can help lessen soreness in the jaw area.

Call Today

The good news is, with proper care and consistent treatment, before you know it, your smile will be straight and your bite aligned! In the meantime, please give us a call if you need help. You can reach our Shenandoah Valley Orthodontics team at 540-667-9662. We look forward to helping you with your emergency visit as quickly as possible!