Douglas Peyton, DDS, MS | Des Moines Orthodontics  
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Orthodontic Emergencies


Direct Injuries to the Mouth and Teeth

Direct injuries to the mouth and teeth are usually caused by trauma. These types of injuries include knocking out, displacing, or fracturing teeth. If this should occur, you should be seen by your family dentist first since we may not have the necessary materials to adequately treat these injuries. If the braces are broken or displaced we will need to repair the appliance after you have seen your family dentist. If you are unable to contact your family dentist or an alternate facility, please call our office and we will try to assist you.

Orthodontic appliance emergency

True orthodontic emergencies are rare, but they do occur. You should call our office to schedule an appointment when you experience severe pain or have an appliance problem you can't take care of yourself.

However, appliances may break or be displaced during orthodontic treatment. Disturbances such as loose bands or brackets, or broken or poking archwires are not normally considered true orthodontic emergencies, and therefore do not require you to be seen in our office outside of our regular business hours. If there is any change in your appliance, please call our office so that we can evaluate the urgency of the problem and schedule an appointment to resolve it. When you call, it is helpful if you can accurately identify the part of the appliance that is in need of repair.

The following is a list of the most common problems and what you can do until you can be seen by our office.

  • Broken or poking archwire — Try moving the wire with a cotton swab or pencil eraser. If you can't move the wire, place a piece of soft wax over any area that is irritating to the cheek or gum tissue.
  • Tooth discomfort — It is normal to have some discomfort after the braces are adjusted. Over the counter pain relievers, acetaminophen or ibuprofen, are effective. In addition, you can rinse with warm salt water and eat softer foods.
  • Irritation of cheeks or lips — A small amount of orthodontic wax makes an excellent buffer between the braces and cheeks, lips, and tongue. Simply pinch off a small piece wax and roll it into a ball. Flatten the ball and place it completely over the irritating area. Drying the area first can help the wax stick better.
  • Loose band or bracket — Usually you do not need to do anything. Please call our office so we can determine if it can be left in place until your next regular scheduled appointment or needs to be reattached sooner. Do not connect headgear or elastics to the loose band or bracket. Bring any pieces of your braces that break off to the repair appointment.
  • Bent headgear or other removable appliance — Stop wearing the appliance until it can be adjusted in our office.
  • Bent or broken fixed appliance — Please contact our office. We may be able to give you additional instructions to relieve any discomfort.
  • Mouth sores — You can gain relief by using a small amount of topical anesthetic such as Orabase or Ora-Gel.
  • Lost separator — If a separator comes out, please call our office to see if it needs to be replaced before your next visit.
oines Orthodontics
  Des Moines Orthodontics
22221 7th Avenue South, Des Moines WA 98198
p: 206.824.8288
f: 206.824.3859
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