When it comes to orthodontic emergencies, most aren’t severe, fortunately. While true orthodontic emergencies can happen, they’re pretty rare. The most common emergencies are situations that require care before your next scheduled appointment. You’ll want to address them as soon as possible with your Las Vegas orthodontist to avoid potential issues with your treatment. 

Types of Orthodontic Emergencies

Not sure what situations constitute an orthodontic emergency? Here are a few common examples: 

Your Mouth Is Sore or Irritated

One of the most common issues with braces or Invisalign is mouth soreness following an adjustment or changing your aligners. This pain is generally temporary and should lessen over time. In most cases, it isn’t an orthodontic emergency. Pain that doesn’t go away or worsens, however, can indicate a problem.

Another common issue is soft tissue irritation. The brackets of traditional metal or ceramic braces can cause painful sores that may appear on the inside of your cheeks or lips. In some cases, particularly with lingual braces, they might also develop on your tongue. 

There’s Food Stuck in Your Braces

Traditional braces remained fixed to your teeth for the duration of your orthodontic treatment. In other words, they’re in place 24/7, including while you eat. Sometimes, food can get stuck under a wire or along a bracket. Along with being potentially embarrassing, this situation can also be uncomfortable.

A Bracket Comes Loose or a Wire Breaks

The brackets bonded to your teeth serve to hold the archwire securely in place. While the adhesive is strong, chewing hard or sticky foods can dislodge one or more of your brackets. 

Similar situations can cause an archwire to come loose or break. The exposed ends of the wire can then poke you in the cheek or lip, causing sores. 

You Lose an Appliance

A separator could come loose and fall out. You might misplace your headgear, Invisalign aligner, or other orthodontic appliance. Accidents happen.

You Experience Dental Trauma

Facial injuries are more uncommon but can cause a true orthodontic emergency. Trauma from an auto accident, falling, or impact while playing sports can harm your jaws, damage your teeth, or even result in tooth loss. 

What To Do if You Need Emergency Orthodontic Care

The type of orthodontic emergency you’re experiencing will determine your next steps. For instance, mouth soreness from an adjustment or changing aligners doesn’t generally require an additional appointment. An over-the-counter pain reliever can help manage your pain in the meantime. If you find it difficult to chew, you may also find it easier to eat soft foods for a couple of days until the pain eases. However, if the pain persists (or worsens), you should contact the office immediately. 

Here are a few other ways to manage orthodontic emergencies:

  • Mouth sores: Apply wax to the brackets irritating the inside of your mouth. 
  • Stuck food: Tie a knot in a piece of floss and gently work the debris loose. An interproximal brush or toothpick may also help.
  • Loose bracket or broken wire: Contact the office for an appointment. Place wax over the end of a broken wire to prevent injury to the inside of your mouth. 
  • Lost appliance: Contact the office as soon as possible for a replacement. 
  • Trauma: Contact the office right away or seek emergency medical care. 

Protect Your Oral Health in the Event of an Orthodontic Emergency

Orthodontic emergencies happen. Knowing what to do will help you avoid delays in your treatment and protect your mouth’s health, too. If you experience any issues during your orthodontic treatment, Las Vegas orthodontist Dr. Hansen is here to help. Visit us online to learn about our emergency orthodontic care, or contact us for an appointment today!