Craig & Streight Orthodontics Orthodontic Emergencies

True orthodontic emergencies are rare, but they are something that patients may encounter from time to time. When we talk about true orthodontic emergencies, that includes:

  • any serious injury or trauma to the face, neck, mouth, teeth, or gums
  • any swelling, infection, or bleeding of the gums or mouth
  • any severe pain or discomfort in your teeth, mouth, face, or neck

Orthodontic emergencies: when to seek help

If you find yourself experiencing any of the above symptoms while undergoing treatment with us here at Craig & Streight Orthodontics, we encourage you to seek help as soon as possible. If you’re a current patient, we suggest you start with one of our three offices. We have three convenient locations in Norman, Mustang, and South OKC, meaning we’re never very far from where you are when you need us. However, if you feel that the emergency room may be your best option in treating an orthodontic emergency, don’t hesitate to go!

You might wonder how you’ll know if an oral issue is worth an immediate ER visit, or if it’s a situation where you can safely watch and wait. One good example of a problem requiring immediate diagnosis and treatment would be something like a fractured tooth. Another would be any type of severe pain or swelling around your teeth, jaw, or mouth, as this can be a sign of infection and disease. The good news is, these kinds of major orthodontic emergencies tend to be few and far between. It’s much more common to experience “minor” emergencies that can be treated at home until Dr. Craig or Dr. Streight can see you.

Orthodontic emergencies: major or minor?

For true orthodontic emergencies, please call our office as soon as possible, or seek emergency treatment if necessary. For more minor emergencies, you may treat the symptoms at home, but do be sure to contact our team so we can schedule you for an appointment to assess the issue. These minor orthodontic emergencies can include:

Mouth sores

Although orthodontic appliances themselves don’t cause mouth sores, some patients do appear to be more susceptible to getting them during the treatment process. These ulcers show up on the cheeks, lips, tongue, or gums, and can be uncomfortable. Irritation from braces can also make them worse. For immediate relief, try using a cotton swab to apply a small amount of topical anesthetic directly to the ulcer. Follow the instructions included with the packaging for ease of use.

Loose or broken brackets, bands, or wires

Scented Dental Silicone Wax for Braces

If any part of your braces comes loose or breaks in any way, get in touch with one of our doctors as soon as you can so they can determine what your next steps should be. While you’re waiting for an appointment, there are a few guidelines to follow to keep your braces safe. If a band or bracket is broken but still attached to the wire, don’t connect any elastics to it, and try to leave it alone until we can see you. If it’s irritating the inside of your mouth, you can cover that part with orthodontic wax. If a piece has actually broken off, please place it in a bag until your appointment with us.

Misplaced archwire, bracket, or tie

As your teeth begin to adjust to orthodontic treatment, they start moving into the positions laid out in your treatment plan. During this process, the archwire that connects them may also move, which can sometimes result in it poking out a bit near the back of the mouth. This may irritate your cheeks and possibly your gums. Fortunately, a wire like this can easily be moved into a better spot by using the eraser end of the pencil or a cotton swab.

If the wires or ties become misplaced, they can often be manipulated back into place by gently using a pair of clean tweezers. You can also use a pinch of orthodontic wax to cover any part of your wires or brackets that have shifted and begun to irritate to your mouth. This will help give you some immediate relief, but definitely contact our office as soon as possible so we can correct the actual problem.

Tooth pain or loosening

During orthodontic treatment, your teeth will loosen slightly. This can be disconcerting, but it’s actually what we want them to do. That said, the movement may occasionally cause some slight tenderness, especially right after you have your braces put on, or following an adjustment appointment. Try doing a salt water rinse twice a day by mixing one teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water, then swish it around your mouth for about 30 seconds.

Orthodontic emergencies: Craig & Streight Orthodontics is here to help!

True orthodontic emergencies may be rare, but they do happen. You should seek treatment as soon as possible if you experience one, but we know that even minor emergency situations can be upsetting. That’s why we’re committed to keeping your orthodontic experience with us as safe and stress-free as possible! If you find yourself experiencing any discomfort with your orthodontic appliance, get in touch. We’ll get to the bottom of it and have you smiling again in no time.