What to Do in Case of Emergency
First, we would like to define what constitutes an emergency vs. a routine problem?
True orthodontic emergencies typically involve but are not limited to facial injuries and throbbing pain beyond what can be helped with over the counter pain medications. These situations should prompt a call to the office during business hours or our emergency on-call answering service after hours.
For more routine issues such as broken, lost, or loose appliances, patients are encouraged to call our office during normal business hours. Please do not come directly to the office – by calling us, you will allow us to hold a time to see you and be prepared for your arrival. Even if you have a regular appointment scheduled, call us immediately to notify us if you need an appliance repaired as this often requires additional time be held for you.
Discomfort with Orthodontic Treatment
During the first week after your braces are in place and routine adjustments are complete, you will likely feel some pain, soreness or discomfort. You may take acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or other non-aspirin pain relievers while you adjust to your new braces. A warm washcloth or heating pad may reduce the soreness in your jaws.
Loose Bracket/Lost Appliance (Retainer or Expander)
A loose bracket is not an urgent emergency but it does need attention. If your bracket or band is still attached to the wire, you should leave it in place and put wax on it for comfort or to prevent it from sliding if needed. If the bracket or band can be removed easily, place it in an envelope and call the office during regular business hours to set up an appointment to replace it. If you bring the brace to your appointment, we may be able to clean it and reinstall it but don’t panic if you misplace or forget it.
In case of a lost appliance, treatment will obviously not move forward without an expander and teeth may shift without a retainer. We would like to see you as soon as possible during regular hours to make arrangements to remake the lost appliance for you before negative changes occur.
Loose or Poking Wire
Using a pair of tweezers or even your fingers, you can try to put your wire back into place. If you cannot put the wire into a comfortable position, and covering the end with wax doesn’t help, call the office and one of our friendly staff or doctors will advise you how to handle the loose wire or schedule a time for you to come in for us to repair it as needed.
We understand that accidents happen. However, for the most part, breakage of wires and braces is related to poor food choices or inappropriate use of the teeth (chewing pens, fingernails, or mouth-guards, for example). Therefore, if orthodontic emergencies occur on a regular basis, we reserve the right to charge a fee for “emergency” repairs.
We do schedule our orthodontic emergency appointments in the morning and early afternoon. Please always call the office for an appointment. If the problem is significant and cannot be addressed with the tips found in this article, there is always a pediatric dentist on call after hours to help you.
PEDIATRIC DENTISTRY EMERGENCIES
Rinse the mouth vigorously with warm water to clean out debris. Use dental floss to remove any food that might be trapped between teeth. If swelling is present, place cold compresses on the outside of the cheek. (Do not use heat or place aspirin on the aching tooth or gum tissues.) Contact our office as soon as possible.
If the tooth is dirty, rinse it gently in running water. Do not scrub it. Gently insert and hold the tooth in its socket. If this is not possible, place the tooth in a container of milk or cool water. Contact our office immediately. (Treatment needs to be done within 30 minutes, if possible). Don’t forget to bring the tooth.
Gently clean dirt or debris from the injured area with warm water. Place cold compresses on the face, in the area of the injured tooth, to minimize swelling. Contact our office immediately.
Bitten Tongue or Lip
Apply direct pressure to the bleeding area with a clean cloth. If swelling is present, apply cold compresses. If bleeding does not stop, go to a hospital emergency room.
Objects Wedged Between Teeth
Try to remove the object with dental floss. Guide the floss carefully to avoid cutting the gums. If not successful in removing the object, contact our office . Do not try to remove the object with a sharp or pointed instrument.
Possible Fractured Jaw
Immobilize the jaw by any means (handkerchief, necktie, towel). If swelling is present, apply cold compresses. Contact our office or go immediately to a hospital emergency room.
24 Hour Emergency Care
Because we are concerned about your child’s dental health, we have a dentist on call after hours seven days a week. Should you need emergency care, and you are a patient of record, just call 586-286-0700 & you will be directed as to how to reach our doctor on call.