Orthodontic emergencies are rarely true emergencies. However, occasionally something may happen that requires prompt attention from Dr. Paul Sokolowski to resolve and bring your treatment back on track. If you or your child are experiencing discomfort, or if something breaks or comes off, please contact Daghlian Pediatric Dentistry & Sokolowski Orthodontics as soon as possible. Our team will provide you with strategies on what to do at home and make arrangements for you to come into the office so that our orthodontist can provide you with the care you need.
Common Orthodontic Emergencies
Are you uncertain about what is actually an orthodontic emergency? The answer is simple: anything that needs to be addressed by our orthodontist and can’t wait until your next scheduled appointment is an orthodontic emergency. While some things can be easily addressed over the phone, other things may require you to come in so that your appliance can be repaired or adjusted. Either way, don’t panic. Call our office as soon as you can, and we will help you determine the cause of the problem and find a solution.
Here are some common orthodontic emergencies you may encounter:
- Loose brackets or bands
- Poking wires or other wire irritations
- Lost separators
- Discomfort with your braces or other treatment
- Food stuck in your braces and causing discomfort
Handling Orthodontic Emergencies At Home
Some orthodontic “emergencies” can be taken care of at home. We’ve provided a few instructions here, and invite you to call us if you need a little coaching over the phone.
Food Between Your Teeth
While this is not necessarily an emergency, it can be uncomfortable or embarrassing. You can usually use floss or an interproximal brush or toothpick to remove food caught between your teeth and braces. If the trapped food is causing discomfort, or you can’t dislodge it yourself, call to make an emergency appointment with our orthodontist.
Bands or Ligatures Coming Loose or Off
The tiny rubber bands or wires which hold the archwire to the bracket of your braces can sometimes be put back in place with sterile tweezers. Loose bands can be bent back down with a Q-tip or pencil eraser. However, please feel free to call and speak with a member of our team. We can advise you on how to put loose wires and bands back in place, or make an appointment for you to come in.
Discomfort, Irritation and Mouth Sores
A small amount of discomfort after braces are initially placed or after adjustments is normal and should subside quickly. You can mitigate this temporary discomfort by rinsing with warm salt water and eating soft foods. Should soreness persist or become severe, please call and make an appointment.
If you are prone to developing sores these may be precipitated or exacerbated by irritation from braces. This is not an emergency but may be uncomfortable. Our orthodontist may recommend small amounts of topical anesthetic, applying dental wax as a buffer or other solutions to help you feel more comfortable and relieve irritation.
Sometimes the end of a wire will work itself out of place and cause irritation. You can push the wire so it’s flat against the tooth using a Q-tip or pencil eraser., If the wire can’t be moved into a comfortable position, you can apply wax. Please contact us to make an appointment so that we can adjust or clip the wire for you.
Loose Brackets, Bands or Wires
If your braces (including brackets, bands and archwires) come loose in any way, please call our office. Braces may become loose as a result of eating hard, crunchy or sticky foods, or if your mouth is struck during sports or other activities. You will need to meet with Dr. Sokolowski to have your braces repaired and reattached correctly to your teeth. Our team may make recommendations on ways to temporarily prevent the bracket from becoming even more loose before you are able to come in for an emergency appointment.
Swallowing An Appliance
This is rare, but when it does happen it can be alarming. Please remain calm. If you are able to see the piece you can carefully attempt to remove it, but don’t make an attempt to do this if you are uncomfortable or believe it could cause harm. If you are coughing excessively or having difficulty breathing, the piece could have been aspirated. Please contact our office immediately – our team will help you evaluate if our orthodontist can assist or if you should visit the emergency room before coming to our office.
How To Avoid Orthodontic Emergencies
There are a few simple ways to avoid orthodontic emergencies:
- Follow the food guidelines our pediatric dentist and team provide. Most orthodontic emergencies occur because you ate something you should have avoided while wearing braces. In general, you should avoid hard, sticky and overly chewy foods, as these can damage your appliance.
- Follow instructions for brushing and flossing with braces, and continue to visit your regular dentist every six months for a routine cleaning and exam.
- Wear an athletic mouth guard while playing sports. This helps protect your teeth and mouth from injury as well as protecting your braces from damage.
Our Fully Certified Team
Our assistants are PAL (pediatric advanced life support) certified and our office is CPR certified. We take your health and safety seriously, and do everything possible to help ensure your health and wellbeing, especially if you are experiencing a dental or orthodontic emergency.
If you or your child are experiencing a life-threatening or severe injury or trauma to the head or neck, please call 911 or visit the nearest emergency room, even if your braces, appliances or teeth are also damaged.
Schedule An Emergency Appointment
Call now to schedule an emergency orthodontic appointment in Newport Beach and Huntington Beach, California, with Dr. Daghlian or to speak with a member of our team.