King Orthodontics Blog

Orthodontic Emergency Care

Although major orthodontic emergencies are relatively rare, when they do happen it is important to seek immediate attention. By comparison, a minor orthodontic issue is something you can usually take care of yourself, or wait until your next scheduled appointment for care. Here are some guidelines to help you understand the difference between an orthodontic emergency and a minor issue.

ORTHODONTIC EMERGENCIES

Acute, Direct Injury to the Mouth, Jaw, or Teeth Whether undergoing orthodontic care or not, if you injure your mouth, jaw, or teeth, you should see a doctor or dentist immediately. You may need an X-ray to determine the extent of your injury. If the injury affects the orthodontic appliances, they will need adjustment or possibly replacement, depending upon the extent of the injury.

Infected Teeth

It is possible for teeth to become infected following orthodontic treatment. This may or may not be related to your orthodontic appliances. If you experience pain or swelling around a tooth that gets progressively worse, seek professional care as soon as possible.

MINOR ORTHODONTIC ISSUES

While true orthodontic emergencies are rare, minor issues are much more common. Here are some examples of minor orthodontic issues that can be remedied on your own and/or fixed at your next office visit:

  • Poking wire
  • Loose bracket
  • Loose elastic band
  • Loose wire
  • Loose appliance
  • Headgear does not fit
  • Lost or broken elastic band
  • General soreness

Any of the above issues can happen as a result of normal usage, shifting, and wear of your braces. Eating unusually hard or sticky foods can cause or exacerbate these problems. Vigorous brushing of the teeth can also be a factor. None of these issues are emergencies unless they are accompanied by acute or prolonged pain or discomfort.

As for on-the-spot remedies, covering a loose bracket or wire with wax can be a quick fix to alleviate discomfort until your next orthodontist visit. Poking or protruding wires can be moved with a cotton swab or tweezers, or clipped down with nail clippers. Be sure to sterilize the tweezers or clippers in alcohol first. Cover any clipped wire ends with a small ball of wax.

Some soreness or small abrasions in the mouth are normal, especially with recent orthodontic work. Rinse your mouth with a saltwater solution comprised of eight ounces or warm water and one teaspoon of salt.

When in doubt, be sure to contact our Pittsburgh or Wexford, PA office with any questions, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Earle King and Dr. Bryan King at King Orthodontics.

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I have 4 children who are patients of King Orthodontics and we always look forward to our visits. The atmosphere is relaxing and the staff is kind, & courteous. To top it off, we have never had to wait more than 10 minutes or so! Dr. King... and Dr. Bryan, are kind and knowledgeable and easily accessible too. I can’t say enough about this practice!

Elizabeth K, Monroeville PA

I just wanted to take a minute to write and let you know what a wonderful addition Dr. DeMiria is to your office. I was in twice this week and saw Dr. DeMiria on Monday for the first time. She is absolutely wonderful - just so nice and she really seems to be invested in her patients. The entire staff at Wexford office is wonderful and Dr. DeMiria is just icing on the cake.

Jen R, Pittsburgh PA

I absolutely love King Orthodontics!! The staff are so friendly and actually care about you and your teeth. Almost everyone who works there knows you by name which is very uncommon for a place with so many patients. It is so worth the hour drive it takes me to get there. I would highly recommend King Orthodontics to anyone!!!!!

Andrew G, Midland PA