Dental Health

Orthodontic Emergencies: What to Know and What to Do

Orthodontic Emergencies
Written by Guest Author

Some dental issues can be treated at home, but many require intervention from a dentist or oral surgeon. Orthodontists focus on tooth alignment issues. They are dental professionals who are dedicated to providing their patients with the perfect smile.

Orthodontic appliances, such as braces, have come a long way in recent years. However, some patients may feel uncomfortable with how their braces feel. Others may develop small sores that can make chewing painful.

A serious injury to the mouth, jaw and/or teeth should be seen by a dental professional as soon as possible. Here, our focus will be on orthodontic emergencies and what you should do in the event that you are currently suffering from one.


What are the different types of orthodontic emergencies?

Most orthodontic issues are not serious, and would not actually constitute an orthodontic emergency. 

However, broken braces brackets would be considered a dental emergency. Loose braces brackets may also prove serious, and sores and ulcers in the mouth should be seen by a doctor asap.

Some dental wires may perforate the gums or may poke certain parts of your mouth. Braces wire may also slip out in their entirety in some cases. Any soreness and tooth discomfort may be a sign of something more serious, such as a dental abscess or a dry socket.

A poking steel tie should also be seen by a dental professional without delay. A lost rubber band can also cause issues that may require a visit to your dental specialist.


Orthodontist v/s Dentist

Both dentists and orthodontists are medical professionals who are committed to enhancing your oral health. They both play a crucial role in ensuring that your gums and teeth remain healthy. However, there are some areas in which they differ.

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For example, dentists may offer tooth whitening/bleaching services, as well as dental work that can help ward off tooth decay and gum disease.

They may also provide their patients with customized crowns, veneers and bridges. They may also perform dental extractions of badly decayed teeth, and may also provide root canal treatments in order to salvage a damaged or infected tooth.

Orthodontists will provide services that will treat crowded, misaligned and/or protruding teeth. Also, if you currently suffer from an overbite or an underbite, then your dentist will likely refer you to an orthodontist, as they are better suited for the job.


What are the different types of orthodontic treatments?

Lingual braces are designed to rectify improper alignment of the teeth. They attach to the teeth in a manner that is similar to conventional braces. Brace brackets will be affixed to the back of your teeth so that they are not visible when you smile. 

People who are insecure about their braces affecting their smile should opt for lingual braces instead of traditional braces.

Invisalign will help straighten your teeth so that you can have a beautiful smile, but will not require the use of braces to do so. Instead, an aligner tray is worn in a manner similar to a traditional retainer.

The aligner is clear and is made of plastic. The aligner trays are replaced every 2 weeks in order to adapt or adjust to the evolving shape of the teeth. They can be removed if you feel the need to clean them, and they can also be removed when you are eating or drinking.

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The biggest advantage of Invisalign is that they are almost invisible to the naked eye, so no one will be aware of the fact that you are wearing them.

A retainer serves as a removable appliance for patients who have recently undergone a tooth realignment procedure. In order for your teeth to not revert or shift back to their original position, you will need to wear a retainer during certain periods.

By doing so, your bite will remain corrected. There are also many different retainers to choose from, depending on the issue in question as well as the treatment administered.

For instance, you can opt for a clear retainer, which can be worn while you sleep. Or, you can have a bonded or banded retainer glued to the back of a tooth or several teeth in order to maintain optimal placement.

Orthodontic elastics are specialized rubber bands that are used in tandem with braces. They are designed to help with tooth alignment and jaw issues. 

They will help pull your jaw backwards or forwards in order to accelerate the alignment process as well as ameliorate your bite.

Orthodontic Emergencies

How do you deal with orthodontic emergencies?

A broken or loose bracket is usually caused by eating hard foods. Simply leave it in place and cover it with wax if you are experiencing any discomfort. If the bracket comes out completely you should bring it to your next appointment with your orthodontist.

Sticky foods can cause bands to become loose. If your bands become loose then inform your doctor or one of their staff members about the issue and keep your regular appointment.

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Ulcerations and small sores on the inside of your cheeks and/or lips are fairly common during the beginning of orthodontic treatment. The ulcers may be caused by the hooks on the brackets. 

Ulcers will usually heal on their own within a few weeks. However, if they are troubling you then you can use wax to cover the edges of the hooks.

If you notice loose teeth or are experiencing dental pain then please make an appointment with your orthodontist. In the meantime, you can rinse gently with a warm saltwater solution and/or take Advil or Tylenol.

Orthodontic treatment helps treat many different types of orthodontic emergencies.


The Perfect Smile

Orthodontics is focused on straightening teeth for aesthetic or pragmatic purposes. Many orthodontic issues can be temporarily treated at home. However, long-term relief can only come from dental interventions.

Very few orthodontic issues constitute real medical emergencies but in the event that you are dealing with one, please make an appointment with your orthodontist as soon as possible.


Erin Gregory

Erin Gregory is a blogger in Toronto. She is currently working as a Community Manager for several small businesses. She has graduated with honors from the University of British Columbia with a dual degree in Business Administration and Creative Writing.

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