When you think of emergencies, your mind probably doesn’t lean towards the orthodontic type of emergencies. There’s a reason for that! Orthodontic emergencies are a rare occurrence, (knock on wood), and that’s another positive side to receiving orthodontic treatment. But, in the event that something unexpected does happen to your orthodontic appliances or teeth, Dr. Willett and her team are here for you. Let’s review what you can do in the event you have any issues during your orthodontic treatment:
What’s Considered an “Orthodontic Emergency?”
With how uncommon orthodontic emergencies are, it’s hard to know what’s even considered to be one. To cure your curiosity and prepare you for the “worst-case scenario,” here are what we consider orthodontic emergencies at Lincoln Orthodontics:
- Trauma to the mouth: If you suffer an injury to your mouth, there is a chance that your orthodontic appliances will be damaged. Ouch! We encourage you to receive medical treatment and be examined by a health professional first. Then, contact Dr. Willett to inform her of the situation. She will be there for you (empathetically and orthodontically!) and assess whether your appliances need repair, replacement, or just TLC.
- Swallowing a piece of an appliance: This is extremely rare, but if it happens to you, it can be a little scary!. If your appliance (such as a bracket, band, wire, etc.) can no longer be seen, has been fully swallowed, or is unable to safely be removed,, seek orthodontic or medical care promptly. It will be important for you to distinguish if you’ve swallowed or inhaled the orthodontic piece. Call Dr. Willett ASAP and she will give you instructions on what to do next! We often plan on a chest or abdominal xray to make sure we can see where the article is and to assess if it will “pass” or what treatment is required.
- Lips/tongue stuck to appliances and causing significant pain: Sometimes this one isn’t always an emergency, but it can be in certain cases. If this happens to you, and you can’t seem to get your lips or tongue out of your appliances and it is causing you severe discomfort, give us a call or text. We will help you get unstuck and give you tips to avoid this from happening again!
If any of these unfortunate circumstances were to happen to you, Dr. Willett will make sure you are taken care of, even if it’s after hours. We have an emergency line for a reason – and this is it!
What Isn’t on the “Orthodontic Emergency” List?
When you first get orthodontic treatment or when braces get adjusted, it’s normal to feel some slight discomfort. There are even a few circumstances where your orthodontic appliances may cause a fuss. Although these times can be uncomfortable, they are not considered orthodontic emergencies. These potential issues can be addressed during our normal business hours or at your next scheduled orthodontic appointment:
- Ligatures (metal or colored elastics) coming off
- General discomfort
- Mouth sores
- Protruding wire that isn’t imbedded and preventing you from eating/drinking
- Irritated cheeks/lips
We don’t consider these orthodontic emergencies because they don’t require immediate attention. Ligatures can be replaced, protruding wires can be fixed, mouth sores and irritated cheeks/lips can be relieved and remedied with orthodontic wax, and general discomfort will go away with time. Plus, we promise to see you as soon as possible!
We understand that these are very inconvenient and possibly unpleasant to deal with. While there are so many positives to receiving orthodontic care (your dream smile for instance), there are a few downsides, unfortunately. All of us at Lincoln Orthodontics are more than happy to make your orthodontic treatment journey as comfortable and smooth as possible, so don’t get us wrong – we will be there for these minor inconveniences, too!
Ok, I definitely have an orthodontic emergency. What should I do?
First things first, assess the situation. Examine your mouth and appliance carefully to identify the issue. If there is severe pain, excessive bleeding, or trauma, seek immediate medical attention and then give Dr. Willett at Lincoln Orthodontics a call! You’ll dial our regular office number, (402) 489-8841, and follow the instructions to our After Hours Care line. We are here for you and will make sure you get the care you need, or walk you through steps you can take on your own until we can meet you at the office!
Prevent Those Already Rare Orthodontic Emergencies!
The best way to prepare for emergencies is to prevent them from even happening. Here’s what we recommend to ensure that the already rare orthodontic emergencies never happen in the first place!
- Follow Dr. Willett’s instructions, rules, and advice. This may seem simple, but it’s the most important. Dr. Willett knows her stuff, and her rules are not meant to be broken. She wants you to have the smile you’ve always wanted, in the shortest amount of time, with the least amount of stress. And you probably feel the same way.
- Avoid problematic foods: Popcorn, potato chips, gum, sticky or hard candy, nuts, whole apples, corn on the cob, carrots, and anything similarly hard, crunchy, or sticky..
- Wear a mouthguard. It will require some getting used to, but mouthguards work hard to keep your mouth safe. They will begin to feel more comfortable with time and practice and patience, we promise!
- Come in for your regular orthodontic check-ups. We want to see your pretty faces and catch up, but we also want to make sure your teeth and mouth are ok, and that your orthodontic treatment is on track! So make your regular orthodontic appointments a priority to avoid minor inconveniences and orthodontic emergencies.
Take Charge of Your Orthodontic Emergencies
Emergency situations can be nerve-wracking, especially when it involves your orthodontic treatment. By understanding orthodontic emergencies and knowing how to handle them, you can take charge of the situation and protect your smile progress! Call Lincoln Orthodontics’ emergency line at (402) 489-8841 and follow the prompts for our After Hours Care emergency line. In the event of an orthodontic emergency, act promptly, so that you can receive the appropriate care and get back on track to achieving the smile of your dreams! We hope we see you soon for your regular appointments, but hopefully not for an emergency – stay safe!