What Are the Common Orthodontic Emergencies?

It may sound wild but orthodontics, next to psychology, are two of the most overlooked health problems we face in modern society. A significant amount of people think that dentistry and orthodontics are limited to making your smile look good and dealing with cavities.

Straightening your denture and fighting tooth decay are essential pillars of these medical disciplines. But they are not restrictive to that.

It’s time we recognize oral health’s vast importance in our overall health. Dental healthcare is not a luxury because it helps with more than just appearance. A smile with alignment problems does not work as efficiently as a straight one.

Crowded teeth and crooked teeth can lead to cavities and gum disease, severe pain, headaches, and eating and speaking issues. That’s what makes orthodontics so important.

Many people need orthodontic treatment at least once in their life. It’s common to have alignment issues or spacing problems with your teeth. Even more severe dental health cases can be treated and permanently fixed thanks to orthodontists.

Even though doctors recommend visiting your dental practice at least once a year, this does not mean you will require orthodontic treatment every year for your whole life. In most cases, orthodontic appliances achieve lifelong lasting results. A yearly visit is advised for a checkup to make sure your mouth and denture are still great.

Do not mix, however, dentistry with orthodontics. They have different domains and specialties and are actually two distinct career paths. Both are paramount for your well-being.

Which Orthodontic Emergencies Require an ER?

Another concern people hold against orthodontics is related to how uncomfortable appliances like braces seem and the pain they supposedly cause.

Traditional braces work by applying force and pressure to the teeth and mandible bone. That means that they are going to feel uncomfortable sometimes, and they are going to cause mild pain from time to time.

These are all issues you can solve at home with over-the-counter painkillers or domestic tools you find at home. There is no need to panic; the biggest percentage of orthodontic emergencies are not real life-threatening emergencies.

How can you know if your current emergency requires an emergency room? Well, actual dental emergencies need immediate care. Here are a few.

What to Do if I Swallowed a Bracket?

It’s common for brackets to fall off your teeth from time to time. Sometimes you get a loose bracket that’s holding still to the metal archwires, and sometimes they just fall off. It’s when they fall that you have to be more careful.

You can accidentally swallow a piece of appliance which can be very dangerous. Since brackets are small, chances are you will swallow them and expulse them naturally. But there are cases where it gets stuck in the throat or your airways.

If, after the incident, you experiment any difficulty breathing or have an intense cough, head straight to the nearest ER.

Can an Emergency Room Fix a Cracked Tooth?

If you suffered a major hit or trauma directly to your mouth, it is possible to break a tooth. A chipped tooth is not impossible to deal with for your orthodontist. You can set an appointment to get it fixed. A cracked or broken tooth is a more serious problem.

Let’s say your tooth is cracked, but there is no bleeding, and the injury did not reach the gums; then, you can call your doctor to let them know about the problem and schedule an appointment to repair the damage.

If the injury did reach the gums and you are bleeding heavily, do not waste time and head to the emergency room. If the tooth fell out, you should do the same.

Other Common Orthodontic Emergencies

Life with braces is pretty much the same as usual. Nevertheless, it’s no lie that orthodontic patients with conventional braces have a few limitations or restrictions to follow, especially dietary. Not following instructions can cause any of these:

Lose Archwire Poking Your Mouth?

This is a classic. It can cause great discomfort and even little wounds or ulcerations. But it’s not an acute emergency.

This can happen for many reasons or unprovoked. However, most cases derive from a lack of compliance.

If the metal wire is poking your lips or gums, you can try to bend it using a sterilized pencil eraser or tweezers to push it. Normally, this happens because there is protruding wire. If this is your case, you can grab a nail clipper, sterilize it, and cut the excess wire with it.

When the metal wire is loose between the brackets, it’s better just to apply special relief wax to prevent ulcerations.

Lost Clear Aligner or Retainer

When you lose a bracket and are sure you did not swallow it, you can relax and just check with your orthodontist to confirm if you need a new appointment to fix this before your next one.

The same protocol applies to rubber bands. Rubber spacers, however, can be a different story so if you lost one of these, call your dental expert because you may need to get a new one soon. Not necessary to worry, though.

Be Prepared in Case of an Orthodontic Emergency in Los Angeles, CA

We always recommend saving your nearest dental office address and contact. Los Angeles is a big city, and not every dental practice or dentist is qualified to attend to an emergency. Schedule an appointment to meet our team and be prepared.