We expect the unexpected. While your first reaction may be to race to our office, it’s best to call first. This will allow us to give you proper guidance and instructions while we prepare for your specific situation. The best thing you can do for your child is remain calm and instill that sense of calm in your child. Should your emergency be braces or appliance related, follow the same procedure and give us a call first, even if you have a scheduled appointment. Below are some tips on common dental and orthodontic emergencies:
Begin by cleaning around the sore tooth using warm salt water. Rinse the mouth to displace any food trapped between teeth. DO NOT use aspirin on the aching tooth or on the gum. For temporary pain relief, acetaminophen is recommended. If your child’s face begins to swell, apply a cold compress to the area. Please contact us for an appointment if the pain persists more than a day.
Cut or Bitten Tongue, Lip or Cheek
Ice can be applied to any bruised areas. For bleeding, apply firm (but gentle) pressure with sterile gauze or a clean cloth. If the bleeding does not stop with pressure or continues after fifteen minutes, please visit an emergency room.
Rinse the area with warm water. Put a cold compress over the facial area of the injury. Recover any broken tooth fragments and call our office immediately.
Knocked Out Permanent Tooth
Recover the tooth, making sure to hold it by the crown (top) and not the root. Rinse, but do not clean or handle the tooth more than necessary. Carry the tooth in a cup containing milk or water. Because time is essential, call our office immediately. (Note: Baby teeth should never be reinserted in the mouth.)
Possible Broken Jaw
In the event of jaw injury, tie the mouth closed with a towel, tie or handkerchief. Go immediately to an emergency room.
Bleeding After A Baby Tooth Falls Out
Fold a piece of gauze and place it (tightly) over the bleeding area. Bite down on the gauze for fifteen minutes. If bleeding continues, call our office.
Cold or Canker Sores
Over-the-counter medications will usually provide temporary relief. If sores persist, give us a call.
Loose Brackets or Bands
Call our office immediately for advice if a bracket or wire is loosened. The bracket may need to be re-fitted as soon as possible. You may have a situation that requires cutting a wire or sliding a bracket off a wire at night or over the weekend. If you need to cut a wire in case of emergency, you may use fingernail clippers that have been washed and sterilized in alcohol. Please call our office the next business day, so that we may schedule an appointment for you.
Sometimes discomfort caused by a wire on your braces can be resolved by moving the wire away from the irritated area with a cotton swab or eraser. If the wire will not move, try covering the end of it with a small piece of cotton or a small amount of wax. If the wire is painful, you can cut it with nail clippers or scissors that have been washed and sterilized in alcohol. If you cannot resolve the wire irritation, call our office for an appointment.
Broken Braces and Wires
Remove a broken appliance only if it comes out easily. If it is lodged or painful to remove, cover any protruding edges with wax, cotton balls, gauze or chewing gum. DO NOT REMOVE any wire caught in the gums, cheek or tongue. Contact our office immediately. Emergency attention is usually not required for loose or broken appliances that cause no discomfort.
Most patients lose a separator during their treatment. Do not worry about losing a separator, but call our office to see if it needs to be replaced.
Discomfort with Orthodontic Treatment
During the first week after your braces are in place and routine adjustments are complete, some pain, soreness or discomfort is normal. You may give your child acetaminophen or other non-aspirin pain relievers while he or she adjusts to new braces. A warm washcloth or heating pad may reduce the soreness in the jaw.