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Orthodontic Emergencies

Identifying and Dealing With Dental and Orthodontic Emergencies

By Uncategorized

Orthodontic emergencies are quite a bother. Picture the following: you were minding your own business, you just had to reject a perfectly good bowl of popcorn during movie night, and suddenly you feel something odd in your mouth. There’s some unusual scratching or poking from within your mouth.

You go to the bathroom to check yourself in the mirror, and you notice that there’s a piece of stainless steel wire poking against the inside of your cheeks.

Should you call your orthodontist right there? Can you push the wire out of the way or tuck it in under the archwire?

Let’s think of another scenario. You’ve been feeling some pain for a couple of days. Even as you take some over-the-shelf painkillers, the pain is still there. Now, after some days, you notice the pain won’t go away and that your face is swelling.

Should you go to the dentist? Can my orthodontist recommend anything? Should I call emergency services?

As part of our dental care, we want to help patients undergoing orthodontic treatment correctly identify dental and orthodontic emergencies when they arise. Knowing which situations require emergency care can save your life and teeth. Learning to differentiate between emergencies and minor problems will help you react accordingly and avoid accidentally prolonging your orthodontic treatment.

What Counts as a Dental Emergency

First, we should talk about the more general situations that can put you at severe risk. Many patients are worried if they suffer an accident after their dentist’s office has closed. Some others are concerned that they might be bothering their dentist without legitimate reasons.

If you are worried something might be wrong, you have sufficient reason to ask for professional help. Still, while some situations are not necessarily an emergency, others do require immediate emergency dental care.

Dental Trauma

We are referring to an accident where your teeth suffer direct dental trauma. If you had any such accidents and you fear your tooth is now fractured, chipped, or cracked, call your dentist. This is especially important if you feel your tooth is loose after receiving a hit directly to your jaw area or your teeth. Loose teeth are a reason for concern, so contact your dentist as soon as you can.

Try to clean your mouth with warm water and use a cold compress to reduce swelling after getting hit. You could likewise take an over-the-counter painkiller to help with the pain until you go to the dentist’s office.

Oral Infection and Abscessed Tooth

This is a life-threatening situation. In some cases, an impacted tooth can develop a periodontal abscess, or as their name suggests, they can develop due to periodontal disease. An infection below the gum line immediately harms the soft tissues surrounding your tooth and could erode the bone tissue holding your teeth in place.

You may develop a fever, increased tooth sensitivity to hot and cold foods or drinks, and a constant toothache. The more severe cases lead to swelling of your face and an infection that could spread to other parts of your body.

Get in contact with emergency services and your dentist to coordinate appropriate care. Try warm salt water rinses to draw out the pus and reduce the severe pain.

Reviewing Orthodontic Emergencies

These emergencies are, unsurprisingly, related to orthodontic appliances. Most situations are not as alarming as the ones described before, but they are bothersome. Here’s a shortlist to sum it up, and we’ll review each in a little more detail. You could also check this material from our friends at the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO).

  • Loose or broken brackets, wires, or band
  • Irritation
  • Mouth sores

Loose or Broken Brackets, Wires, or Band

Let’s talk brackets first. Brackets are the small piece bonded to your teeth. The bonding agent may fail, or a piece of hard or crunchy food could have pushed the bracket off-center. Make sure you get in touch with your orthodontist and listen to their recommendations.

The brackets may also have rotated. A home fix is to grab a pair of sterile tweezers, slide it to the space between two adjacent teeth, rotate it into the right position, and move it back to its original position. In any case, ask your orthodontist about help and determine when you can go to their office for help.

On occasion, an end of your archwire might get loose and poke at the inside of your cheeks. The best thing to do here is grab a q-tip to push the poking wire towards your teeth. If you cannot force it into a comfortable position, you could clip the wire; however, it’s best to use gauze around the wire to prevent any accidental swallowing when you clip the wire.

The ligatures or bands holding the archwire in place can also become loose. If you notice any such case, make sure to review the other ligatures to prevent accidental swallowing. You could try to reposition it with some clean tweezers, but you should get in touch with the orthodontist to have them replaced.

Irritation

The constant brushing against a metal bracket and wire can irritate your mouth’s soft tissues. Fortunately, this is not a life-threatening emergency, and you can easily solve it. In these cases, you could use a little bit of orthodontic relief wax as a protective barrier between your appliance’s parts and your mouth’s soft tissues. Don’t worry if you accidentally swallow some of this orthodontic relief wax; it won’t harm you.

Mouth Sores

Neither your braces nor aligners will cause mouth sores. Still, they can exacerbate due to the aforementioned irritation. Common areas affected by these mouth sores include your lips and tongue. Get in touch with your orthodontist about the topical ointments you can use to relieve the discomfort.

Get Help During Orthodontic Emergencies

We offer our California friends all the help we can during their orthodontic emergencies. If you live in Natomas, Gold River, or Auburn, you can trust the team at Markham Orthodontics to help you out when you need us the most.

Still, we would remind you to get in touch with emergency services if you face situations marked by severe pain, uncontrollable bleeding, or face swelling. We will do our part and help your treatment stay on track, but the most crucial thing during life-threatening emergencies is that you receive appropriate care at a moment’s notice.

For the other situations we described in this article, you can come to our office for a complete fix and continue your journey towards a healthy and beautiful smile. Get in touch with us on our phones, or set an appointment online.

Christmas Lighting At The Village Green Park In Rancho Cordova, CA

By Blog

With the holiday season just around the corner, we were remembering last year’s celebrations. Below are photos of the team, Dr. David Markham, and the rest of the staff at Markham Orthodontics!

Photos From The Community Event

The Community Event
The Community Event
The Community Event

Contact Your Preferred Sacramento Orthodontist

We are extremely grateful and proud to be serving the communities of Rancho Cordova, Natomas, Auburn, Sacramento, West Sacramento, Gold River, Anatolia, Fair Oaks, Carmichael, Arden Arcade, Citrus Heights, Auburn and surrounding areas. Let’s kickstart the holiday season even earlier! Call us for a complimentary orthodontic consultation or schedule your appointment today!

brushing with braces

Interdental Brushing for People with Braces

By Orthodontics

Proper brushing techniques are the key to maintaining a healthy smile with braces. Read this blog to learn how interdental brushing can improve your oral health.

Orthodontic treatment can make it difficult for a patient to clean his or her teeth. This can lead to plaque build-up around the teeth, brackets, and wires. To counteract this, the orthodontist will give specific instructions on how to brush properly to prevent cavities, gum disease, and dental stains. In addition to using a traditional toothbrush, he may also recommend interdental brushing—another highly effective method for maintaining a healthy smile.

An interdental brush (IDB) is a small, specially designed brush used to clean between the teeth or brackets where a traditional toothbrush can’t reach. Those without braces use an interdental brush to clean between the teeth, but orthodontic patients also use them to clean around and between the brackets and wires on their teeth.

Read this blog to learn how to properly use an interdental brush and how interdental brushing is beneficial for people with braces.

How To Use an Interdental Brush

Before purchasing an IDB, be sure to ask your orthodontist which size will work best for your smile. Interdental brushes come in various sizes—correlated by color— to benefit all types of smiles.

Orthodontic patients should use the interdental brush one time per day after brushing with a traditional toothbrush.

To properly utilize an interdental brush, follow these instructions:

  1. Move the appliance up and down on either side of the brackets
  2. Pass the brush along the orthodontic wire when moving from one tooth to another, continuing to move it up and down
  3. Rinse after each use
  4. Replace the brush when it begins to look worn

The Benefits of Interdental Brushing

Aside from helping patients maintain good oral health, an interdental brush provides several benefits, especially when compared to dental floss.

The advantages of interdental brushing include:

  • Easy use
  • Patient compliance
  • Higher motivation
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Safe to use

Many times, orthodontists instruct patients on how to use dental floss to clean between their teeth and brackets. It can be a complicated process that many patients won’t give a second thought when they leave the orthodontist’s office.

IDBs offer all of the same advantages along with the simplicity of use. Patients with dexterity issues have a greater appreciation for this appliance because there are variations of the brush with a long, bent handle.

brushing with braces

More Ways to Keep Your Mouth Healthy

Braces offer so many benefits and provide patients with beautiful smiles! However, braces also require proper care and responsibility. To ensure you have the best orthodontic experience, follow these guidelines:

  • Avoid chewy, crunchy, sticky, and hard food
  • Avoid foods that require biting into
  • Do eat soft foods like dairy, bread, grains, seafood, cooked vegetables, and fruits
  • Rinse with saltwater when you’re mouth feels tender or sore
  • Learn how to fix a loose wire
  • Utilize wax to relieve irritation
  • Wear a mouthguard

If you follow these tips, and other specific instructions from your orthodontist, you’re sure to have a great orthodontic experience. Along with having a beautiful smile at the end of treatment, you’ll also have a healthy one!

Contact Our Sacramento Orthodontists Today

At Markham Orthodontics, Dr. David Markham and Dr. Steven Scott provide excellent, gentle care to patients of all ages. Our goal is to help patients achieve a beautiful, healthy smile that they can’t wait to show off.

Call our friendly dental team today

two phase orthodontic treatment-o

Children’s Braces: Second Phase Orthodontics

By Children's orthodontics

Two-phase orthodontics can be incredible beneficial for children with orthodontic issues. Learn more about the benefits of children’s braces in this blog.

The goal of first phase orthodontics is to help a child’s jaw develop properly. Second phase orthodontics focuses on creating a smile that’s beautiful and fully functional. This phase of treatment is typically characterized by braces because the child’s adult teeth have almost fully developed.

Second phase orthodontics is much simpler when a patient has previously undergone orthodontic care to correct any jawbone issues. However, many times braces are the first experience a preteen or teenager has with an orthodontist.

Continue reading to learn about the benefits of Phase II orthodontics.

two phase orthodontic treatment-o

The Benefits of Orthodontic Treatment for Adolescents

The preteen and teenage years are the most common time for second phase orthodontics to begin. When treatment starts early enough, it’s likely that the patient will have their braces off by the time high school begins or before his or her sophomore year of high school.

There are several benefits to completing phase one and two of orthodontic treatment by this time, including:

1.      Improved oral health

Whether your child has crooked, crowded, or gapped teeth, braces will do more than just improve his or her appearance. Braces can help reduce the risk of developing oral health issues like tooth decay and gum disease.

Issues of malocclusion make it difficult for anyone to clean their teeth properly and effectively. This means that food and bacteria can easily be caught between the teeth and eat away at the dental enamel and/or soft tissues surrounding the teeth which often leads to cavities and gum disease.

When the teeth are perfectly aligned, brushing and flossing become easier and much more effective so the patient can avoid serious oral health problems.

2.      Better overall health

Braces improve the patient’s bite which makes it easier for patients to properly chew their food. This helps with digestion issues because the food is being broken up into smaller pieces before it moves into the stomach.

Additionally, when the risk for tooth decay and periodontal disease is lessened, so are many overall health issues. Untreated gum disease has been linked to health problems like diabetes, heart disease, dementia, rheumatoid arthritis, and hormonal irregularities.

Though these health issues aren’t common in adolescents, parents can help their children avoid these health problems in the future.

3.      Boost in self-esteem

Unfortunately, many preteens and teens struggle with low confidence. This can seem even more detrimental than the aforementioned issues because it affects their mental health and all other aspects of their lives.

When a student enters junior high and high school, there are so many opportunities for him or her that have never been available before. Clubs, sports, speech class, and other activities allow students to explore their interests and passions. Sadly, students who struggle with low self-esteem may never take these opportunities. In addition, poor self-confidence can impact a student’s ability to make friends.

It’s been proven that people with beautiful smiles are more assured and appear to be more likable, successful, and happy. Braces can help your child have the confidence he or she needs to try new things, find new passions, and achieve their goals.

Schedule an Initial Consultation

We know that all parents want the best for their children, and we believe that orthodontic treatment is one of the best things a parent can give!

To meet with our experienced, family-friendly orthodontists, call (916) 924-8970 today.

young girl with braces

Children’s Braces: First Phase Orthodontics

By Children's orthodontics, Orthodontics, sacramento ortho

young girl with bracesChildrens Braces

What do you think of when you hear the word orthodontics? Many people envision preteens and teens with big smiles full of chunky metal brackets and wires. But did you know, children can begin orthodontic treatment as young as six years old? The American Dental Association recommends children visit an orthodontist by age seven. Depending on your child’s dental development, he may recommend children’s braces or other interceptive treatments, such as:

  • Headgear
  • Spacers
  • Functional appliances
  • Specialized retainers
  • Expansion appliances
  • Braces on selected teeth

First phase orthodontics is also referred to as early intervention orthodontics. It is typically followed by a second stage of treatment when the child is older. Phase one typically makes phase two much shorter and less complicated.

Reasons for Children’s Braces

Kids need braces and other interceptive treatments for a wide variety of reasons. A pediatric dentist may be the first to notice that your child could need orthodontic treatment. He or she will recommend you visit a Sacramento orthodontist who can decide if treatment is needed, when treatment is necessary, and which devices would be the most beneficial.

Though it may seem like children’s teeth are less important than their permanent teeth, they aren’t! Your child’s first set of teeth will directly affect how their adult teeth develop. Here are some reasons for children’s braces:

  • Crooked teeth
  • Overlapping teeth
  • Overcrowded teeth
  • An overbite
  • An underbite

Many times, tooth and jaw problems are inherited, but they also occur as a result of an accident or a bad habit like thumb sucking.

Types of Children’s Braces

You may be surprised to hear that traditional metal braces aren’t the only orthodontic option for children. While traditional braces may be recommended, other options are available. Types of children’s braces include:

  • Ceramic: Instead of metal, brackets can be made from ceramic. This material is more discreet but not as strong as traditional braces.
  • Clear aligners: Invisalign® now makes aligners for children. Talk to your child’s orthodontist to learn about the advantages and disadvantages of this treatment.
  • Lingual: This braces option is secured to the back of the teeth, not the front, to be more discreet.

For children, traditional braces are often the best choice. They are extremely effective and require much less responsibility.

Remember, braces aren’t the only orthodontic treatment an orthodontist recommends. In fact, braces might not even be necessary. Talk to your child’s orthodontist about the pros and cons of all treatment options before deciding what’s best for your little one.

Benefits of First Phase Orthodontics

Choosing to treat your child’s dental problems early offers numerous potential benefits, including:

  • Positive jawbone growth
  • Improving the width of the top and bottom arches
  • Reduced need for extracting permanent teeth
  • Reduced or eliminated need for jaw surgery
  • Lower risk of trauma to jutted front teeth
  • Gains space for erupting teeth
  • Improves the position of first molars
  • Improved speech problems
  • Reduces risk of impacted permanent teeth
  • Shortens phase two treatment
  • Improves aesthetics
  • Heightens self-esteem

Visit an Experienced Orthodontist

If your pediatric dentist has recommended your child to an orthodontist, make sure the ortho has years of experience with children’s braces and other interceptive treatments.

Our board-certified orthodontists love serving the families of Auburn, CA, and the surrounding areas. Dr. Markham and Dr. Scott love helping children achieve beautiful, healthy smiles through gentle orthodontic care, but they will only recommend it when it’s beneficial. Call our office today at (916) 924-8970 to schedule a complimentary evaluation.

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