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How Can I Avoid Orthodontic Emergencies?

March 13, 2024

Filed under: Uncategorized — 32andu @ 9:06 pm
Orthodontist smiles

While orthodontic treatments usually involve some discomfort, this usually passes quickly as you get used to wearing your appliance. However, orthodontic emergencies can happen in rare cases, and they require the intervention of an orthodontist as soon as possible. Here’s what you should know about what constitutes an orthodontic emergency as well as a few tips for avoiding them.

What Counts as an Orthodontic Emergency?

While orthodontic emergencies are quite rare, they still happen from time to time. A few examples include:

  • Brackets breaking or falling off
  • Wires breaking and poking into soft tissue
  • Soreness or infections resulting from constant irritation
  • Broken retainers or aligners

How Can Orthodontic Emergencies Be Prevented?

One of the best ways to cause an orthodontic emergency like a broken wire or bracket is to eat sticky or hard foods. Chewing items like taffy, jawbreakers, or crusty bread can damage these parts by pulling on or pushing against them. The best way to avoid this problem is to avoid these foods completely by sticking to softer foods.

Irritation of the lips or cheeks can usually be prevented by applying dental wax to the parts of your braces that are poking into the soft tissues. This can smooth out these hard edges, preventing infections and making the situation much more comfortable for your lips and cheeks.

The best way to prevent damage to your aligner or retainer is to keep it in an approved case when not wearing it. Leaving them unprotected in a pocket or purse can expose them to stress and damage. Never eat while wearing your retainer or aligner, as the strain of chewing can damage it.

What Should I Do if I Have an Orthodontic Emergency?

If you have an orthodontic emergency, contact your orthodontist at once. If you contact them afterhours, leave a detailed message including your name, your phone number, and the problem you are having. When you speak to the staff at the office, they will pencil you in for an appointment and provide you with instructions to keep you comfortable until then. Discomfort can be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers.

Taking the proper precautions can help keep your orthodontic treatment free of complications. If an emergency does happen, knowing how to get the help you need can allow you to reach the best possible conclusion.

About the Author

Dr. Ryan Bygness earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery from the University of Iowa College of Dentistry and obtained his orthodontic certificate in 2013 from the American Orthodontic Society. He is proud to be a member of the American Dental Association, the Iowa Lakes Dental Society, and the American Orthodontic Society. His office in Denison, IA offers orthodontic treatments such as Invisalign and traditional braces. If you are experiencing an orthodontic emergency, contact his office online or dial (712) 263-3252.

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