Dental emergencies can happen out of nowhere. You may be living your best life one minute and dealing with a tooth that is in pain – or completely knocked out – the next. But how do you know if you are dealing with a true dental emergency? How do you know if you should call your dentist after hours?
With orthodontics, we expect to get phone calls from worried patients or parents. A broken wire, a little bit of pain… how do you know whether something is an orthodontic emergency or just an expected side effect of treatment?
Do You Have a Dental Emergency?
First of all, don’t panic. What may feel like a dental emergency to you may not be one at all. It is important to have a clear head in order to assess the situation and determine if you have an emergency on your hands. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you in severe pain?
- Is your tooth bleeding?
- Did your tooth fall out? Was it knocked out?
- Do you have any swelling?
Emergency dentistry is designed to stop severe pain, stop bleeding, reduce swelling, and save a tooth – even with braces. So if your tooth situation fits into any of these categories, then you may have a dental emergency on your hands. It is a good idea to call your dentist and explain what is going on and get their professional opinion – should you come in right away or make an appointment?
It is worth noting that certain things that may feel like a dental emergency are not, including a broken tooth that isn’t causing pain, a toothache, a lost filling, or a crown. While it is important that you see your dentist right away, these can wait for an appointment.
Common Orthodontic Emergencies
There is so much hardware and different oral appliances that come with orthodontic treatment – and that makes a lot of opportunities for something to go wrong. Let’s take a look at some of these issues – and how they can best be handled.
Pain or soreness. When first getting braces or after an adjustment, discomfort and tenderness is normal. Over-the-counter pain relievers usually help a lot, as do gels like Oragel. Eating soft foods can also provide relief. And, finally, rinse with warm salt water.
A Loose Ligature. If you have traditional braces, you may have a ligature – either a rubber band or a wire – that attaches to the bracket and holds the archwire in place. If yours is a rubber band, place it back on with tweezers. If it is a wire ligature, use tweezers to pull it off.
A Broken or Painful Wire. A broken wire or one that continues to slide out and poke you can be fixed by pushing the wire back against the tooth. The easiest way to do this is with a pencil eraser or a Q-tip.
Food Stuck in Braces. Use tools such as dental floss, an interproximal brush, or even swishing mouthwash to remove unwanted food debris.
Have a Dental Emergency?
If you feel like you have a dental emergency, give us a call. The team at Signature Orthodontics is always on standby to address any issues that may arise.
Don’t hesitate! Contact us at 651-426-9986. We can help make the determination of whether we should see you before your next appointment.