Nobody loves an accident, and that’s a fact. That goes double when it involves your teeth and triple if you’ve got some sort of orthodontic equipment in there! Not to worry! At Varallo Orthodontics, Dr. Varallo and the team are well-equipped to handle any issues you run into, and we have the knowledge to keep you informed on when you need to make a trip to the emergency room and when you can make an appointment! Remember, we are here for your orthodontic emergencies.
What is an orthodontic emergency?
Well, that depends. Braces are complicated equipment, with different pieces that can and do sometimes break. Is a loose bracket an emergency? Probably not. How about a broken wire? Could be. What about a broken tooth? Now that’s an emergency! The American Dental Association stresses that in the event of a tooth knocked loose, the sooner you see your dentist, the better. In particular, The best chance for saving a tooth is to see your doctor within two hours. If you can’t make it in to see your dentist in that timeframe, you should go to the emergency room!
Understanding Orthodontic Emergencies
Serious orthodontic emergencies are rare. Orthodontic emergencies are situations that require immediate attention to alleviate discomfort, prevent further complications, and keep your treatment on track. These emergencies may arise unexpectedly and, if not addressed promptly, could lead to prolonged discomfort or hinder your progress toward that perfect smile.
When It’s Urgent!
In the event of a severe orthodontic emergency, such as significant trauma to the mouth or excessive bleeding, it’s crucial to seek immediate medical attention by visiting the nearest emergency room or contacting your healthcare provider. For example, if your child experiences a severe fall resulting in extensive mouth injury while wearing braces, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional promptly. Additionally, if a wire or any orthodontic appliance is ingested or causes difficulty in breathing, urgent medical assistance is necessary. While these situations are rare, knowing how to respond in extreme cases is essential for ensuring your safety or that of your loved ones. Remember, in any emergency, your well-being is the top priority, and orthodontic concerns can be addressed once immediate health issues are resolved.
Other Orthodontic Issues
True emergencies like this are thankfully very rare, and usually, the kinds of orthodontic emergencies you’ll encounter won’t require immediate intervention. Issues like this include:
- Broken Braces or Wires: A broken bracket or wire can be uncomfortable and may cause irritation to the cheeks, lips, or tongue. If you encounter this issue, you can temporarily cover the sharp edge with orthodontic wax and contact our office to schedule a repair appointment.
- Loose Bands or Spacers: Bands or spacers that become loose can disrupt the effectiveness of your orthodontic treatment. Please contact us immediately to arrange for a solution. Do not attempt to fix these issues yourself, as it could lead to further complications.
- Discomfort or Soreness: It’s common to experience some discomfort or soreness, especially after adjustments. Over-the-counter pain relievers, as recommended by our team, can help alleviate discomfort. Eating soft foods and using a cold compress can also provide relief.
- Poking or Loose Wires: Wires that have shifted or come loose may poke the inside of your mouth. Try using orthodontic wax to push the wire gently back into place. If this doesn’t work or the wire continues to cause discomfort, contact [Your Practice Name] for guidance.
- Lost or Broken Retainers: Retainers are crucial for maintaining the results of your orthodontic treatment. Losing or damaging them can be a setback. Reach out to our office to discuss replacement options. Wearing your retainer as prescribed is essential to prevent any orthodontic relapse.
How to Prevent Minor Emergencies
Now that we’ve covered the basics let’s dive into how to prevent these sorts of issues. The most common time to receive orthodontic treatment is the teen years. For many teens, the most common way they’re going to wind up with a minor emergency like those above is by participating in sports.
Use a Mouthguard!
If there’s one thing to take away from the reading today, it should be that mouthguards will be your best friend in sports safety.
Did you know that more than 500 million dollars yearly is spent on avulsed teeth? By avulsed, we mean the tooth has been torn or dislodged from its root structure. And did you know that one of the most common causes of these injuries is physical activities like organized sports?
In fact, the American Dental Association reported that 13-39% of all tooth and jaw injuries are sports-related! Of these, the vast majority result from the tremendous popularity of organized sports such as Football and Soccer in schools.
There’s no doubt that a mouthguard will do wonders to protect your or your child’s teeth and jaws, but a sobering statistic demonstrates that in one of the most contact-oriented sports of all, Football, only two-thirds of participants were reported to wear their mouthguards! For soccer, it was even less, with only 7% of participants in intramural leagues said to be in compliance with the ADA’s recommendations!
What Happens if My Child is Hurt During Sports?
First things first – assess the damage. If an injury occurs during an organized sporting event, there should be someone available with proper medical training to determine the extent of the injury properly. If there’s any doubt, err on the side of caution – call the emergency room!
However, the majority of sports-related injuries aren’t going to require hospitalization. If your child is hurt while playing sports and you suspect there may be tooth and jaw damage, be sure to call your dentist immediately to make an emergency appointment. If equipment is damaged, that could lead to worse injury due to exposed wiring or sharp edges!
As with any dental injury, the sooner you have it looked at by an expert, the sooner it can be dealt with appropriately. Injuries leading to damaged root systems or an exposed pulp chamber (think of it as the meat of the tooth) must be dealt with immediately to avoid potential complications.
Give Us A Call!
At Varallo Orthodontics, we care about you and your family. Remember, in the event of a serious emergency, always seek prompt medical intervention. For everything else, give us a call! We’re where smiles take shape, and Dr. Varallo and the team are ready at our Burlington and Arlington offices to help out with whatever you need.