What is considered an orthodontic emergency?

What is considered an orthodontic emergency?

Our team understands that an orthodontic emergency can strike at any time. That said, it can be challenging to differentiate between an issue that can wait a day or two from a real orthodontic emergency. Here, our Maple Ridge orthodontists share a few tips on how to tell if you're having an orthodontic emergency.

Is pain normal?

A mild level of discomfort is a normal part of any orthodontic treatment, and understanding what to expect in terms of pain can help you to spot an orthodontic emergency if one happens to you.

It's perfectly normal for orthodontic patients to feel some pain or discomfort at times throughout their treatment. As your teeth are moving towards their proper positions, your mouth, teeth, and jaw are bound to feel a little sore sometimes.

Normal Orthodontic Discomfort vs Pain

Discomfort is common when braces are first fitted and treatment begins. Your mouth just needs a little time to adjust to your new braces or dental appliance. Expect your teeth to feel tender when you first get your braces, and the brackets and wires may irritate the inside of your mouth for a while. Although this is uncomfortable, it shouldn't last long. Over the course of a few days, your mouth will gradually grow accustomed to your braces, and you'll begin feeling normal again.

If you are experiencing pain due to irritation of your cheeks and lips, place a ball of orthodontic wax over the problematic bracket for instant relief. 

Following an adjustment appointment, or when you change to your next set of aligners, you are also likely to feel some discomfort. Your mouth needs time to adjust to the new position of your teeth and the pressure from braces or aligners, but this discomfort should also pass fairly quickly.

What is an orthodontic emergency?

These are NOT Orthodontic Emergencies

  • Mild Pain or Inflammation - The examples of pain and discomfort mentioned above, are absolutely normal and should be expected when you are straightening your teeth. Rinsing with saltwater, taking an over-the-counter pain killer, or applying orthodontic wax to a problematic bracket or wire should help to relieve your discomfort. Applying ice to your face can also help to soothe any inflammation you may be experiencing.
  • Poking or Scratching Wires - As your teeth move towards their new positions your wires may start to poke the inside of your cheek which can hurt. To help get the irritating wire out of the way and relieve the irritation, use a blunt object, such as a spoon, to push it down temporarily, then contact your orthodontist to book an appointment to have the excess wire clipped off. Placing a ball of orthodontic wax over the wire may also help.

Yes! This IS an Orthodontic Emergency!

Now that you know what isn't an orthodontic emergency, here are a few examples of issues that are considered to be emergencies: 

  • Intense Pain - Any intense pain that cannot be dispelled using the methods described above, is an orthodontic emergency. Contact your orthodontist straight away to book an emergency appointment. Severe pain is never normal!
  • A Broken Appliance - If your braces (or other orthodontic appliance) have broken, or if a wire is jabbing painfully into your cheek and you can’t temporarily fix it yourself contact your orthodontic office right away to arrange an emergency appointment.

Once you have contacted your orthodontist's office and booked your emergency appointment, apply ice to the painful area to help soothe pain, or if a piece of your braces has broken off try to find it, and bring it to your appointment.

If you are experiencing an orthodontic emergency contact Ridge Meadows Orthodontics right away to book an emergency appointment. Our Maple Ridge orthodontists can help to get your treatment back on track.

Book your first orthodontic consultation today at myOrthodontist Maple Ridge.