At Central Texas Orthodontics in Austin, TX, we understand that orthodontic emergencies can happen at any time, which is why we offer emergency orthodontic services to the patients in our care. As your trusted orthodontic specialists, we want to educate you on what constitutes an orthodontic emergency, how to handle it, and when to call us for help.
What Is Orthodontic Treatment?
Orthodontic treatment is a specialized form of dental treatment that focuses on improving the alignment and positioning of teeth and jaws. It involves the use of various devices such as braces, aligners, and other appliances to gently move teeth into their optimal positions. With modern technology and high-quality equipment, the professionals at Central Texas Orthodontics are able and willing to provide you with noninvasive oral care that doesn’t entail endless wires and big retainers.
Orthodontic treatment typically takes several months to several years, depending on the severity of the malocclusion and the desired results. Regular check-ups with the orthodontist are necessary to monitor progress and make any necessary adjustments to the treatment plan. Overall, orthodontic treatment can help improve the appearance, function, and overall health of the teeth and jaws, leading to a more confident and comfortable smile.
Our Lead Emergency Orthodontist
At the heart of our care is the professional leadership of our lead orthodontist, Dr. St. Louis. Dr. St. Louis earned his DDS degree at the University of California, and his master’s degree in orthodontics at Ohio State University. With a diverse background and numerous qualifications, you can rest easy knowing your care is in capable and competent hands.
What Are Orthodontic Emergencies?
Loose Or Broken Brackets
For patients who are in the process of undergoing dental treatment such as braces, the brackets that fit into these various orthopedic devices can come loose or break. When this happens, it can cause discomfort and irritation in the cheeks or gums. If your attempts to solve the issue are unsuccessful, it is always advisable to call and make an appointment with us in order to solve the problem before it gets any worse.
Sometimes, the archwire of your braces may shift, causing it to poke into your cheeks or gums. This can be extremely uncomfortable and may cause bleeding. Unlike loos brackets, protruding wires can be easier to fix with the right tools you may have available in your own home. That being said, if the issue persists, or your efforts show no sign of yielding positive results, it is advisable to seek the help of our professional care providers.
Lost or Broken Retainers
Retainers are essential in maintaining the teeth in their new position after orthodontic treatments such as braces. If the retainer is lost or broken, you can no longer wear it for the advised hours your orthodontist has specifically recommended. This can cause the teeth to shift and move, which can prolong your treatment.
Swollen or Bleeding Gums
Swollen or bleeding gums can be a sign of infection or other underlying issues, such as periodontitis. An emergency orthodontist at our practice is available to evaluate these types of conditions and recommend appropriate treatment.
Who Is At Risk?
People With Orthopedic Devices
Orthodontic emergencies can happen to anyone, but some people are more at risk than others. Those with braces or other orthodontic appliances are more likely to experience an orthodontic emergency. This includes children, teens, and adults who have braces, retainers, or other orthodontic devices.
Children and teens are especially prone to orthodontic emergencies because they are more likely to participate in physical activities and sports. Contact sports, in particular, can increase the risk of a dental injury. It’s important for parents to remind their children to wear mouthguards when playing sports and to be cautious when participating in any activity that could result in a dental injury.
Some adults may have underlying dental issues that increase their risk of orthodontic emergencies, such as tooth decay or gum disease. Those who have a history of tooth decay or gum disease may be more prone to needing emergency orthodontic care. In these cases, it is especially important that those suffering from these conditions make regular and consistent efforts to work with an emergency orthodontist at our practice who can help ensure that they receive the care they require.
What to Do in an Orthodontic Emergency
Orthodontic emergencies can be incredibly uncomfortable and even be painful. It’s important to know how to handle them until you can receive care from an emergency orthodontist. If you’re experiencing an orthodontic emergency, don’t panic! There are several steps you can take to ease the discomfort and keep your treatment on track.
How to Combat Loose Brackets
Use orthodontic wax to cover the bracket until you can see your orthodontist. You can also try to push the bracket back into place gently. If the archwire is poking, you can also try using a pencil eraser in place of orthodontic wax to push the wire back into place. If that doesn’t work, you can also try to clip the wire using a pair of sterilized nail clippers.
These are quick ways to fix this problem that you can do within the comfort of your own home, but they are not long-term solutions. In order to be sure that you have sufficiently solved these issues we recommended calling and making an appointment with one of our trained professionals to make sure a similar scenario does not reoccur.
When to Call Your Orthodontist?
Not every orthodontic issue constitutes an emergency. However, there are certain situations when you should call your orthodontist right away. If you’re experiencing severe pain or discomfort that doesn’t go away even after taking pain relievers or rinsing with salt water, this might be an even more pressing sign that you should call and make an appointment with one of our trained professionals.
If you have a broken jaw or severe trauma to the face or mouth, an object lodged in your mouth that you can’t remove, or a loose or broken appliance that you can’t fix yourself, make sure to call right away to get the care you need. These types of scenarios cannot be combatted at home and require the skills and expertise we offer at our orthodontic practice.
About the Orthopedic Emergency Experience
The orthopedic emergency experience can be stressful, but it is important to remain calm and follow the instructions of the orthopedic emergency specialist. The specialist will evaluate the situation and determine the best course of action to take. In most cases, the orthopedic emergency specialist can resolve the issue quickly and effectively, with little recovery time required afterward.
Overall, orthodontic emergencies can feel overwhelming, but with the right preparation and care, patients can safely and comfortably navigate these situations with the help of their emergency orthodontist.
Caring for the Teeth During Recovery
After an orthopedic emergency, it is important to take care of your teeth to ensure they continue to move into their proper positions. Patients should continue to follow all post-treatment instructions, including wearing any retainers or appliances as directed. Patients should also continue to practice good oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing regularly.
Caring for the teeth during recovery is crucial to ensure proper healing and prevent future infection. Patients may be advised to avoid hard, crunchy, or sticky foods that could damage the braces or cause discomfort. They should also continue to maintain good oral hygiene habits, such as brushing and flossing regularly, to prevent the buildup of bacteria and plaque. All advice is given on a person-by-person basis, aimed at the individual’s specific needs.
Seeing Final Results
The length of time it takes to see the final results of orthodontic emergency treatment varies depending on the individual patient and their specific case. However, most patients will see significant improvement very soon after their treatment. It is important to continue to follow all post-treatment instructions and see an orthodontist regularly to ensure the best possible results.
Gain Access to Emergency Care
At Central Texas Orthodontics, we understand that orthodontic emergencies can be uncomfortable and even painful. However, we also know that they can be handled with ease and without much disruption to your daily life. If you’re experiencing an orthodontic emergency, follow the steps outlined in this post and schedule a consultation with us at Central Texas Orthodontics Austin TX, today. We’re here to help you maintain a healthy, beautiful smile!