Thankfully, orthodontic emergencies are rare. We are here for you when you have one.
However, your braces or Invisalign appliances may take some getting use to. It is common and normal to experience a bit of soreness when appliances are first put on, or some minor aches as teeth begin moving into new positions. If you think you may have an orthodontic emergency, the first step is to determine the severity of the problem: Is it an urgent situation that requires immediate attention, or a minor problem that you can take care of yourself, temporarily, until you can come in to our office?
When To Come In: A True Orthodontic Emergency
There are only a few true orthodontic (or dental) emergencies. They include:
Trauma or injury to the teeth, face or mouth
Infection or swelling of the gums, mouth or face
Severe, unmanageable discomfort or pain in these areas
In any of these situations, you should seek help as soon as possible — go to an emergency room, if that’s your best option.
Generally, however, the place to start is with your regular dentist. Remember that he or she is trained to handle a range of dental problems, and can most likely offer the necessary diagnostic tools, anesthetics and treatments you need.
If, for example, you have a fractured tooth, your dentist will treat the immediate problem and arrange for the tooth’s restoration; afterwards your orthodontic treatment plan can be adjusted as needed.
Likewise, severe pain or swelling could be a sign of infection or disease, which a dentist or periodontist is best able to treat.
Minor Orthodontic Issues
Thankfully, the vast majority of orthodontic problems are minor compared to the situations described above — but they may still cause discomfort or irritation. In general, it’s best to try and soothe the immediate cause of the discomfort, and then call our office to schedule an appointment. That way, we can allow sufficient time to take care of you. Here are a few of the more common orthodontic problems, along with some tips on what you can do to relieve them at home: