What Is An Orthodontic Emergency? 

At Shiney Smiles Orthodontics, Dr. Sheinis and the team work hard to help you smile beyond your expectations. That means quality care and attention in the office, but that also means going the extra mile however we can. We know orthodontic emergencies can be uncomfortable and even a little frightening, but what is an orthodontic emergency? Let’s take a look below to see what an orthodontic emergency is and how to deal with it when it comes up. 

Identifying Orthodontic Emergencies

Luckily, true orthodontic emergencies are rare, but of course, they can happen. Orthodontic emergencies are situations that require immediate attention to alleviate pain, prevent further damage, or address an issue with orthodontic appliances that could derail treatment progress. 

While some orthodontic issues can wait until your next scheduled appointment, certain conditions necessitate prompt action. Understanding what constitutes an orthodontic emergency is crucial for every patient undergoing treatment. 

At Shiney Smiles Orthodontics, we believe in empowering our patients with the knowledge to identify these emergencies, ensuring they feel prepared and confident in managing unexpected situations.

Loose Brackets

One common issue that can arise during orthodontic treatment is the loosening of brackets. Brackets, which are bonded to the teeth, can become loose due to various factors, such as eating hard or sticky foods or an injury to the mouth. 

A loose bracket may not always be a dire emergency, but it requires attention to prevent discomfort and treatment delays. If you notice a bracket has become loose, contact Shiney Smiles Orthodontics as soon as possible. Dr. Sheinis and our team can advise you on the best course of action, which may include coming in for an immediate appointment or providing temporary solutions to manage the situation until your visit.

Broken Wires

Another common orthodontic issue is broken wires. Wires are integral to guiding your teeth into their correct positions, and a broken wire can cause irritation to the mouth’s soft tissues, leading to discomfort or even injury. If a wire breaks, try to move it into a less bothersome position using a clean pencil eraser or a cotton swab. Covering the end of the wire with orthodontic wax can also provide temporary relief. However, it’s important to seek emergency orthodontic care from Shiney Smiles Orthodontics to have the wire adjusted or replaced. 

Dr. Sheinis and our team are equipped to handle these situations, ensuring your comfort and the continuity of your treatment.

Understanding how to handle broken braces and loose brackets is essential for anyone undergoing orthodontic treatment. By knowing what to do in these situations, you can avoid unnecessary pain and ensure your treatment progresses as smoothly as possible. Remember, Shiney Smiles Orthodontics is here to support you every step of the way, providing the care and guidance you need to navigate orthodontic emergencies confidently.

What Is An Orthodontic Emergency?

Immediate Steps for Orthodontic Pain Relief

Some level of discomfort or pain isn’t uncommon during orthodontic treatment, especially following adjustments or in the event of an appliance malfunction, such as broken wires or loose brackets. 

While a bit of discomfort is to be expected as your teeth move into their new positions, there are immediate steps you can take to alleviate pain and manage minor emergencies at home.  

Managing Pain and Discomfort

Orthodontic pain can often be managed with simple, at-home remedies. Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can be effective in reducing discomfort. It’s important to follow the recommended dosage and consider any personal health conditions or medications that might interact with these pain relievers. 

Additionally, applying a cold compress to the outside of your mouth can help reduce swelling and alleviate pain. For irritation caused by braces or wires rubbing against the inside of your mouth, orthodontic wax can be applied to the problematic area, providing a smooth surface that reduces irritation and discomfort.

Temporary Fixes at Home

In some cases, you may be able to perform temporary fixes at home to address minor orthodontic issues. For loose brackets, if they are still attached to the wire, you can leave them in place and cover them with orthodontic wax to prevent irritation. If a wire is poking or causing discomfort, try using the eraser end of a pencil to gently push it flat against the tooth or cover the end with orthodontic wax. For a broken wire, remove any loose pieces if you can do so easily and without causing pain or damage. Always avoid cutting the wire, as this could lead to swallowing or inhaling the small piece.

It’s crucial to remember that these are temporary solutions meant to provide relief until you can visit Shiney Smiles Orthodontics for professional care. Dr. Sheinis and our team are here to provide emergency orthodontic care and address any issues that arise, ensuring your treatment remains on track and your experience is as comfortable as possible. 

If you’re unsure about how to handle a specific situation or if your discomfort persists, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for guidance and support.


When to Visit the Emergency Room for Orthodontic Issues

While most orthodontic emergencies can be managed or temporarily alleviated at home or with a prompt visit to your orthodontist, there are certain situations where seeking immediate medical attention at an emergency room (ER) is necessary.  

Severe Trauma or Injury

If you experience severe trauma or injury to your face, mouth, or teeth, whether related to your orthodontic appliances or not, it’s important to seek immediate medical attention. This includes situations where there is significant bleeding, suspected broken bones, or loss of consciousness.  

Difficulty Breathing or Swallowing

In rare cases, orthodontic emergencies can lead to difficulty breathing or swallowing. This could be due to an allergic reaction to materials used in orthodontic appliances, severe swelling, or an appliance becoming dislodged and obstructing the airway. These situations are medical emergencies that require immediate attention at an ER.

Infection or Severe Swelling

An infection in the mouth or severe swelling that spreads beyond the immediate area of the dental or orthodontic issue can be signs of a more serious condition, such as an abscess or cellulitis. If you notice signs of infection, such as fever, severe pain, or spreading swelling, and cannot reach your orthodontist immediately, visiting the ER is the safest course of action.

What Is An Orthodontic Emergency?

Call Today!

We hope you feel a little more confident when it comes to identifying and dealing with issues that might come up during treatment, but remember, we’re always available to help! Dr. Sheinis and the team at Shiney Smiles Orthodontics are proud to offer leading care from our Huntington and Woodbury offices, and your consultation is always free! Let’s get started today!