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What is an orthodontic emergency?

By Davis October 10, 2013

Luckily, there are very few true orthodontic emergencies!  It is not uncommon, however, for a brace to become loose or a wire to poke. This usually happens by biting into something hard or fidgeting with the braces with your fingers.  Sometimes, the cause is completely unknown. But as long as there is no pain, these issues do not need to be corrected immediately.

In our practice, a typical patient has one extra visit for a loose brace or pokey wire per year.  Certain pre-braces appliances (called Crossbows) have moving parts, so comfort visits are more common with these devices.  We keep time available for comfort visits every day, so if you are in pain you can always be seen right away. If you are not in pain, don’t stress! We will try to find an appointment within a few days that works well for you.

Call us within 48 hours with either of the following:

  • a wire stuck in the cheek
  • a Crossbow appliance not allowing closure of the mouth

Call us when convenient, but within one week for:

  • a loose brace
  • a loose glue pad on a wire retainer
  • an irritating wire scratching the gum or cheek
  • an elastic rubbing the cheek

Since our patients are first seen by our orthodontic hygienists, and then by our doctors, it is very difficult for patients to leave our office with anything likely to break or cause pain. We also try very hard to give good instructions and make sure that our patients know how to care for their appliances. Obviously, additional appointments are not great for anyone. With the careful cooperation of our patients, we’ve been able to decrease the number of extra visits required to well-below the industry average.

If you are concerned, call the office. Even if it is outside our regular business hours, the voicemail message will give you our doctor’s private cell phone number so you can reach us 24/7.