Understanding and preparing for orthodontic emergencies is crucial during orthodontic treatment. An orthodontic emergency refers to any unexpected issue involving your braces or Invisalign aligners that requires immediate attention. These issues can range from minor discomforts, like prodding wires, to situations needing urgent care, such as broken brackets or aligners. It’s important to differentiate between true emergencies that necessitate immediate professional intervention and minor issues that can be temporarily managed at home. Knowing how to handle these situations not only alleviates anxiety but also ensures the continuity and success of your orthodontic treatment.

Common Orthodontic Emergencies

Broken Brackets or Bands

Brackets or bands may break or become loose due to eating hard or sticky foods. If you or your child plays sports like football or soccer without a mouthguard, impact with sports equipment or another player can lead to damage.

If you or your child’s bracket breaks, cover it with dental wax to prevent irritation to your gum, cheek, or tongue. Orthodontic wax will ease the discomfort, but it will be important to schedule an appointment as soon as possible to get the bracket fixed.

Lost or Broken Invisalign Aligners

If an aligner is lost or broken, immediately inform your orthodontist. In many cases, while you wait, you might be advised to move on to the next set or revert to the previous set of aligners temporarily.

Loose or Lost Spacers

Spacers are an important early step in the orthodontic process. As their name suggests, they help create space, especially between the back teeth, so bands and brackets can fit. If a spacer falls out or becomes loose, contact us immediately. We may need to replace or readjust it to ensure your treatment continues effectively. Sometimes we may do without the spacer, but this varies from patient to patient.

Broken Retainer

Retainers become lost or broken nearly every day! Regular wear and tear are often the most common cause. But we’ve seen it all, from playful pets getting their paws on retainers to students accidentally throwing them in the cafeteria garbage.

If your or your child’s retainer breaks, don’t try to fix it yourself. Instead, call your orthodontist. They will do their best to see you as soon as possible. DIY retainers can often cause more harm than good because a retainer is custom-made to fit your unique smile.

Mouth Sores and Irritations

Canker sores are a common problem experienced by patients, regardless of whether they opt for braces and Invisalign. Most canker sores are white or yellow and form on your gums or on your lips due to irritation from your aligners or braces. The best defense against these sores is to rinse your mouth with a saline solution or use orthodontic wax to cover the area, easing pain and reducing inflammation.

Preventing Orthodontic Emergencies

To safeguard your oral health and avoid orthodontic emergencies, it’s crucial to take proactive steps in caring for your braces or aligners. Here are several essential tips to follow:

  • Oral Hygiene: Maintaining cleanliness of both your teeth and orthodontic devices is vital. This not only prevents potential complications but also facilitates a more efficient treatment journey.
  • Dietary Choices: Be mindful of what you eat. Stay away from hard, sticky, or chewy foods that pose a risk to your braces. Additionally, reducing sugary snacks is key to preventing cavities.
  • Protective Gear: Engaging in sports or physical activities? Don’t forget to wear a mouthguard. It’s an effective way to shield both your mouth and orthodontic appliances from potential harm.
  • Regular Check-Ups: Consistently attending your scheduled orthodontic appointments is crucial. These check-ups and adjustments are essential to ensure your treatment is progressing as expected.

Emergency or Not, Exeter Smiles is Here

Understanding and promptly responding to orthodontic emergencies is vital for anyone undergoing orthodontic treatment. Remember, while some issues can be temporarily managed at home, it’s crucial to contact your orthodontist for any concerns or persistent problems. These experts are your best resource for ensuring your treatment is effective and comfortable. And remember, if you’re a patient of Exeter Smiles in Allentown or Reading, emergency visits are covered in your all-inclusive braces and Invisalign fee. Considering braces or Invisalign? Request your free consultation today.