Identifying and Dealing With Dental and Orthodontic Emergencies

Patients often look online, asking what Orthodontics is. A short definition refers to it as a specialized branch of dentistry that focuses on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. But digging a little deeper will help us have a broader idea of what orthodontics is all about.

Now, back to the problems it helps solve, teeth and jaw irregularities occur in different forms and severity levels requiring orthodontists to use braces, aligners, and other procedures to fix teeth that are crooked, crowded, or misaligned. But yet, our patients surely need more information about what it entails.

So, regarding the objectives it purports to accomplish, teeth and jaw irregularities, clinically known as malocclusion, have two main purposes, they work to correct bite problems, such as overbite and underbite, and improve oral health and functionality.

To do so, before beginning treatment, Dr. Markham plans out a treatment that is specific to your needs and goals. This plan will typically involve different phases, with each one focusing on an aspect of orthodontic care, such as straightening teeth, adjusting the bite, or both.

However, despite orthodontics being a schematic and strategically planned process, it is not exempt from intervening external factors that could get in the way. Some of these factors are what we describe as orthodontic emergencies.

An emergency of this kind is any situation where you, the patient, require immediate attention due to pain, discomfort, or damage to your orthodontic appliance. Needless to say, the results of common orthodontic emergencies include severe pain and discomfort.

Having an orthodontic emergency can be a cause for concern, but luckily, Dr. Markham is there to help. When dealing with an emergency, Dr. Markham will assess the situation and provide appropriate and rapid care that might include one or more of the following actions:

  • Repairing or replacing broken appliances
  • Adjusting brackets
  • Addressing issues such as loose wires or ligatures.

Yet, depending on the severity and the threat it poses to a patient, emergencies might classify according to the level of harm they can cause to a patient. But, here, we must take a pause. There are emergencies that reflect a sudden situation but possess no real harm, which we refer to as minor, and others that require E.R. care. Let’s check their causes and the actions that will help you address these cases.

What Are the Most Frequent Orthodontic Emergencies?

Orthodontic emergencies are situations when a patient requires urgent attention to address issues related to their braces or orthodontic treatment. They can range from minor inconveniences like loose brackets to more severe conditions like dental injuries.

Some of the most frequent orthodontic emergencies include broken wires or brackets. These conditions require swift attention from Dr. Markham and sometimes referral to a dentist, like in the case of a wiggling tooth.

More importantly, we can’t skip mentioning it is essential to follow proper oral hygiene practices to minimize bacterial proliferation that can cause tooth decay or periodontal disease and avoid sticky and hard foods that can detach braces or wires.

What Is a Minor Orthodontic Emergency?

As the teeth move by the effect of braces strain over the periodontal ligament, minor emergencies can happen, such as a loose bracket, broken wire, or ligature. These minor emergencies cause discomfort, like when a poking wire hurts the gums.

Common solutions for these minor orthodontic emergencies include using orthodontic wax, reattaching the bracket or wire with tweezers, and applying a cold compress to reduce discomfort and swelling.

These and other measures might help you deal with the inconvenience, so let’s check them in more detail:

Broken Wire

Avoiding hard or crunchy foods is a must to stay away from a broken wire on your braces that can poke your cheeks and cause discomfort. Fortunately, you can solve this issue easily and try a DIY solution by using tweezers to carefully cut the part of the wire pointing towards the cheek and then apply orthodontic wax to cover the pointy edge of the broken wire temporarily.

Next, schedule an appointment with Dr. Markham, who can provide a definite solution by replacing the wire and ensuring the archwire is in the correct position and perfectly clipped into the brackets. Additionally, please don’t ignore a broken wire because it affects the normal course of treatment, making it temporarily ineffective until solved.

Loose Bracket

Again, we must insist on this. Crunchy and hard-to-bite foods like tearing an apple with the front teeth might make a bracket detach from a tooth. A loose bracket is quite frustrating, as it may make it difficult to eat, causing discomfort.

Also, similarly to a broken wire, it can also negatively affect the normal course of the movement of teeth and the orthodontic plan, prolonging treatment time. Unluckily here, we don’t have a simple DIY solution for a loose bracket, so you just have to remain calm and be cautious eating.

First, make immediate contact with Dr. Markham to schedule an emergency visit to get that bracket replaced. After all, the good news is Dr. Markham will do its best to help you out almost immediately.

Derailed Archwire

A derailed archwire isn’t necessarily an issue that can hurt you, as in the case of a broken one, but it is uncomfortable. Yet, more importantly, it suspends the planned effects of treatment, so don’t neglect to ask Dr. Markham for help.

However, If you are unsure of what this is, a derailed wire is when the wire pops out of its designated slot or bracket. In very few cases, the wire might poke, causing sores on soft oral tissues.

Fortunately, you can remedy the situation with your own hands using a pencil eraser or a cotton swab to slip the wire back into its proper place. Next or first, call Dr. Markham for help repositioning the wire and evaluating to observe if there isn’t an affected displacement that could impact treatment strain tolerances.

Clogged Food Residues

If you’re experiencing bothersome clogged food residues in your braces or orthodontic appliance, but you can’t get rid of it, there are a few DIY solutions you can try at home:

  • First, try swishing water in your mouth vigorously to dislodge any food particles.
  • You can also use an interdental brush and a water irrigator to gently remove any stubborn debris.

If the problem persists, make a call and contact Dr. Markham, that knows how to deal with problematic food stuck in brackets or wires.

Teeth or Gums Infection

Teeth or gum infections from cavities or periodontitis develop over time due to poor oral hygiene or an unhealthy diet. So they aren’t what we can call “unexpected.” But they can cause severe pain, swelling, and bad breath.

However, despite evidence revealing they are preventable, they produce a negative impact on treatment as Dr. Markham, in some cases, might need to remove all or some of the braces system to allow space for a general dentist or periodontist to work a dental solution.

With proper care and treatment, teeth or gum infections might be cured. Also, once a dentist or periodontist restores oral health and gives Dr. Markham clearance, he can resume orthodontic treatment.

What Is a Major Orthodontic Emergency?

These are urgent, almost life-threatening situations that require immediate E.R. care. A major emergency might occur from trauma to the mouth, like when a teen plays Rugby and have a tackle that compromises the jaw, a punch in the mouth practicing karate, or with any contact sport in which mostly the practitioner does it without a mouthguard.

Examples of causes of major orthodontic emergencies are endless, and they might produce a broken mandible, knocked-out teeth, loose teeth, and also include broken brackets or wires.

These types of emergencies are primary care concerns that could also cause cranial and cerebral complications, so we must take them seriously to avoid long-term consequences. Let’s check a couple of possible major emergencies and how the patient must address them.

Craniofacial Trauma

Craniofacial trauma can result from accidents, falls, or sports injuries, as we previously indicated. When such an emergency occurs, “it is crucial to seek immediate emergency room care” while conscious.

A delay in getting medical attention can result in severe complications, including nerve damage, facial disfigurement, and even death. Please note this kind of emergency has no direct relationship with orthodontics.

However, having braces might make a wound more profound or exacerbate bleeding because of braces hitting on the cheeks or the lips.

Swallowed Bracket

Swallowing a bracket from your orthodontic appliance is a dental emergency that requires immediate action. You won’t lose consciousness unless you experience difficulty breathing or start choking.

However, if the bracket has been swallowed without any complications, you can try passing it through your digestive tract naturally and still get E.R. help. Don’t forget to call Dr. Markham and explain the situation in detail.

Dr. Markham will provide further instructions, according to the details you provide, and will assist you in assessing potential risks and working along with the gastrointestinal specialist to devise an optimal solution.

Markham Orthodontics Specialty and Emergency Care Auburn

Dealing with an orthodontic emergency can be a scary situation. Although a major dental emergency seldom occurs, you must rely on an orthodontist you can trust to help you in all circumstances.

The best orthodontist Auburn offers your and your family comprehensive orthodontic treatment that includes orthodontics emergency care Auburn. If you are seeking orthodontic treatment or you’re experiencing an orthodontic emergency, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment.

Dr. Markham and his supporting team are committed to helping you get a beautiful smile and provide extensive care during and after your orthodontic treatment.