Our patients and their families typically become incredibly proficient at caring for their braces and appliances, and we can usually handle any questions or concerns at regularly scheduled appointments. But sometimes emergencies arise – especially with newer patients. Our team is available to connect with you day or night to help you handle orthodontic emergencies – when your child is in severe pain or when there’s a problem you or your child can’t fix. But there are usually simple steps parents can take to keep your child comfortable until you can get them into the office.
Is NOVA Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics Available During an Emergency?
At NOVA Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, we have a great relationship with our patients and their families. Patient care is a priority, and our team is available to help you in an emergency day or night. If a patient has an after-hours emergency, don’t panic! Just call our regular office number and leave a message. Give us the details on your emergency and the best number for us to reach you. We check our messages regularly after hours and will get back to you as soon as possible. In the meantime, stay calm: there are some simple steps you can take to treat problems at home until you can see our orthodontist.
What Are The Most Common Orthodontic Emergencies?
Brackets, wires and bands can break or come loose from eating hard or crunchy foods, from an injury during sports or play or in some cases from brushing or flossing. The most common orthodontic emergencies we see are broken brackets and poking wires. Other SOS calls involve loose metal bands or expander and spacer problems.
Home Remedies for Orthodontic Emergencies
Broken braces can seem like a big deal for newer patients, but there’s generally no cause for alarm. We’ll want to get your child into the office as soon as possible, but in the meantime there are some simple things you can do to help keep your child comfortable until you see the orthodontist. In fact, many of our patients and parents become DIY experts!
Broken bracket: The metal squares on each tooth that hold the wires in place can break off or come loose. If the bracket is still attached to the wire, use orthodontic wax to push it back into place until you can get into the office. If the bracket falls off completely, hang onto it until the orthodontist can put it back on. Be sure to call our office as soon as possible because in many cases these brackets need to be put back on right away.
Poking wire: This one one of the main problems our patients need help with, but it’s also one of the easiest to handle temporarily on your own. The archwire is the main metal wire that connects the brackets to straighten your teeth. If it breaks off, it can poke into the teeth or gums, causing soreness and irritation. Simply covering the wire with wax is the best solution whenever possible. You can also use a clean pencil eraser to push the wire back into place so that it’s more comfortable for your child. If the archwire comes out of the bracket, you can use tweezers to put it back in place and then secure it with wax. And finally, while we don’t usually recommend cutting wires yourself, if all other options fail, an adult can carefully use nail clippers or pliers to cut the archwire, then cover the area with wax while waiting to see the doctor.
Expander and Spacer Emergencies: Feel free to give us a call if you get stuck when trying to turn your child’s expander or if your child’s spacer comes out. But first, check out detailed video tips from our orthodontic assistant Allison at the Orthodontic Emergencies section of our website.
Stay Calm And Make That Appointment!
Remember, the best approach is avoiding emergencies by being careful when you eat and avoiding hard or sticky foods and candy on the no-go list. Be careful when brushing and flossing and wear a mouthguard during sports. If a problem comes up, stay calm and do your best to make your child comfortable while waiting for an appointment. Eat soft foods and rinse with salt water to help with pain. You can also use an over-the-counter oral painkiller and offer Tylenol or ibuprofen. Don’t hesitate to call our office after hours if your child is in a lot of pain or if you find yourself unable to handle an emergency on your own. Otherwise, give us a call during business hours, and we’ll get you in as soon as possible. And by the way, emergencies usually come up less often as families get used to orthodontic care!