Ottawa-Gatineau Orthodontists Alliance
Adults Children Orthodontics Treatment

Orthodontic Emergencies

Posted by Dr. Sharleen Tan, 2018-01-23

Orthodontic emergencies and what you can do about them

While there are almost never any truly serious, life-threatening situations with Orthodontic braces, there can be times when you may feel that things are not quite right.  So, what are those situations and how should they be dealt with? Let’s take a look at the most common Orthodontic emergencies and some options for dealing with them.


Your brace/bracket comes loose

When a brace detaches from a tooth, it will usually dangle on the main wire.  This should rarely cause any sort of pain that requires immediate help from your Orthodontist.  If your brace has fallen off completely, simply save it and call your Orthodontist to schedule an appointment.


You discover long, poking wires

There are several reasons why this may happen. It’s quite common to feel comfortable at the end of your adjustment appointment only to find at a later time, something feels sharp. When that happens place a piece of orthodontic wax or, sugarless gum on the offending area.  Your orthodontist can take care of during regular office hours or at your next scheduled visit


You’ve lost or broken your retainer

Don’t panic, this is not considered an orthodontic emergency.  Simply contact your orthodontist to have it repaired or replaced.


You’ve run out of elastics or rubber bands

You can make do with what you have left until your Orthodontists office is open again. If you live a long way from the office, ask if the office could mail some to you instead of making a special trip.  A word of caution, never use other people’s elastics unless they are the exact same size and tension. Otherwise, you could experience unwanted tooth movements and side effects that could prolong your orthodontic treatment.


You experience pain after starting treatment or, after an adjustment

It is quite common to feel some discomfort especially after getting your braces on for the first time.  Since your teeth and mouth have not felt the consistent light forces, it’s normal that they may feel tender.  Pain is a very subjective thing as the same procedures done on 5 different people may have 5 different reactions.  If you are feeling more pain than you want to, take an over-the-counter painkiller. That should be more than enough to take the edge off!


Consider taking an Orthodontic selfie

A picture is worth a thousand words and in today’s world of smart phones with high-definition cameras, it’s often easier to text or email a photo of your problem to avoid any possible confusing descriptions during Orthodontic emergencies.  Ask your orthodontist if they offer this service.


Help while you’re away from home and your hometown Orthodontist

And finally, if you are caught out of town, and you really need help, it may be wise to contact a local orthodontist to see if they can help you. Most Orthodontists are willing to help out the patient of a fellow Orthodontist!  We’re a pretty friendly and helpful bunch of people!!


If there are other Orthodontic emergencies not listed here, please feel free to contact a member of the Ottawa-Gatineau Orthodontists Alliance! We’re always here to help!

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