Orthodontic Emergencies

True orthodontic emergencies are rare. But as a patient, you may encounter from time to time. Here are some examples of true orthodontic emergencies.

  • Any serious injury or trauma to the face, neck, mouth, teeth, or gums
  • Any swelling, infection, or bleeding of the gums or mouth
  • Any severe pain or discomfort in your teeth, mouth, face, or neck

Orthodontic emergencies: when to seek help

If you experience any of the above symptoms while undergoing treatment with us at Grubaugh Orthodontics, we encourage you to seek help as soon as possible. If you’re a current patient, we suggest you contact one of our offices. We’re located in Lansing and DeWitt, and we’re here when you need us. Always go to the emergency room if you feel that to be your best option for treating an orthodontic emergency.

You might wonder how to tell if an orthodontic problem is worth a trip to the ER or if you can safely watch and wait to see how the problem progresses. One good example of a problem requiring immediate diagnosis and treatment would be any type of severe pain or swelling around your teeth, jaw, or mouth, as this can be a sign of infection and disease. Another major emergency would be something like a fractured tooth. The good news is, these kinds of major orthodontic emergencies tend to be few and far between. It’s much more common to experience “minor” emergencies that can be treated at home until Dr. Ed Grubaugh can see you.

Orthodontic emergencies: major or minor?

For more minor emergencies, you can treat the symptoms at home, but do be sure to contact our team so we can schedule you for an appointment to assess the issue.
For true orthodontic emergencies, please call our office as soon as possible, or seek emergency treatment if you need immediate treatment.

Minor orthodontic emergencies can include:

Mouth sores

Orthodontic appliances themselves don't cause mouth sores, but some patients do appear to be more susceptible to getting them during the treatment process. These ulcers can be uncomfortable and show up on the cheeks, lips, tongue, or gums. Irritation from braces can make them worse. For immediate relief, try using a cotton swab to apply a small amount of topical anesthetic directly to the ulcer. Follow the instructions included with the packaging.

Loose or broken brackets, bands, or wires

Get in touch with Dr. Grubaugh as soon as you can If any part of your braces comes loose or breaks in any way, so he can determine what your next steps should be. There are a few guidelines to follow to keep your braces safe while you’re waiting for an appointment.
If a band or bracket is broken but still attached to the wire, don’t connect any elastics to it. Try to leave it alone until your appointment. If it's bothering the inside of your mouth, you can cover it with orthodontic wax. If a piece has broken off, place it safely in a bag until your appointment with us.

Misplaced archwire, bracket, or tie

They start moving into the positions laid out in your treatment plan as your teeth begin to adjust to orthodontic treatment. During this process, the archwire that connects them may also move, which can sometimes result in it poking out a bit near the back of the mouth. This may irritate your cheeks gums. Wire like this can easily be moved into a better spot by using the eraser end of the pencil or a cotton swab.

Misplaced wires and ties can often be manipulated back into place by gently using a pair of clean tweezers. You can also use a pinch of orthodontic wax to cover any part of your wires or brackets that have shifted and begun to irritate your mouth. This will help give you some immediate relief. Of course, you should definitely contact our office as soon as possible so we can correct the actual problem.

Tooth pain or loosening

Your teeth will loosen slightly during your treatment. This may seem concerning but it’s actually what we want them to do. That said, the movement may occasionally cause some slight tenderness. This is more likely to happen right after you have your braces put on, or following an adjustment appointment. Try doing a saltwater rinse twice a day by mixing one teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water, then swish it around your mouth for about 30 seconds.

Orthodontic emergencies: Grubaugh Orthodontics is here to help!

While true orthodontic emergencies are rare, but they do happen and you should seek treatment as soon as possible if you experience one. However, we know that even minor emergency situations can be upsetting. That’s why we’re committed to keeping your orthodontic experience with us as safe and stress-free as possible!

Contact us if you find yourself experiencing any discomfort with your orthodontic appliance. We’ll sort everything out and have you smiling again in no time.