Orthodontic Emergencies

Orthodontic emergencies.At first, having orthodontic treatment may take a little getting used to. It isn't uncommon to experience a bit of soreness when appliances are first put on, or some minor aches as teeth begin moving into new positions. Yet it's comforting to know that genuine orthodontic emergencies are rare.

If you think you may have an emergency, however, the first step is to determine the severity of the problem: Is it an urgent situation that requires immediate attention, or a minor problem that you can take care of yourself, temporarily, until you can come in to the office?

A Major Emergency

There are only a few true orthodontic (or dental) emergencies. They include:

  • Trauma or injury to the teeth, face or mouth
  • Infection or swelling of the gums, mouth or face
  • Severe, unmanageable discomfort or pain in these areas

In any of these situations, you should seek help as soon as possible — go to an emergency room, if that's your best option. Generally, however, the place to start is at the dental office. If, for example, you have a fractured tooth, that immediate problem requires diagnosis and treatment. Afterwards your orthodontic treatment plan can be adjusted as needed. Likewise, severe pain or swelling could be a sign of infection or disease, which also needs immediate treatment.

Some Minor Troubles

Fortunately, the vast majority of orthodontic problems are minor compared to these situations — but they may still cause discomfort or irritation. In general, it's best to try and soothe the immediate cause of the discomfort, and then call for an appointment. Here are a few of the more common orthodontic problems, along with some tips on what you can do to relieve them at home:

Loose or broken brackets, bands or wires
This problem is often caused by eating hard or sticky candy or food, or playing with the braces. If the band or bracket is still attached to the wire, leave it as is — but don't connect any elastics to it! You can cover it with orthodontic wax if it's irritating the inside of your mouth. If it has come off, save it. In either case, call our office to let us know what happened, and we will recommend the next step.

Misplaced or poking archwire, bracket or tie
As the teeth start to move, the wire that connects them (archwire) may begin poking near the back of the mouth or irritating the cheeks. You can try moving the wire into a better position with a pencil eraser or a Q-Tip. If the wire won't move, you may be able to cut the end off with a nail clipper sterilized in alcohol — but before doing so, please call for guidance or instructions. Often, you can also use tweezers to gently move a misplaced wire or a tie that's causing problems.

When wires or brackets cause irritation, covering the metal parts with wax will often help ease the discomfort. As with any of these types of problems, it's best to make an appointment so it can be taken care of.

General tooth pain or loosening
It's normal for teeth to become slightly loosened during orthodontic treatment — that shows they're moving! Sometimes, this movement may be accompanied by tenderness, especially after braces are placed or adjusted. For minor soreness, you can use your regular over-the-counter pain reliever. A twice-a-day salt-water rinse may also help: Mix one teaspoon of salt in an 8-ounce glass of warm water, and rinse for 30 seconds. A warm washcloth or heating pad placed on the outside of the jaw can also offer some relief.

While actual emergencies are rare, the goal is to make orthodontic treatment as comfortable as possible.

Our Location

Hours of Operation

Our Regular Schedule

Monday:

10:00 am-7:00 pm

Tuesday:

8:00 am-5:00 pm

Wednesday:

8:00 am-5:00 pm

Thursday:

8:00 am-4:00 pm

Friday:

8:00 am-12:00 pm

Saturday:

Closed

Sunday:

Closed

Testimonials

What Our Clients Say About Us

    Very friendly and Helpful

    I recently moved here from Green Bay where I had the same dentist for many years. He set the standard high for tooth care. We searched around this area and talked to patients from several dental offices to see what they had to say. The comments about Dr. Jamie at Two Rivers Family Dental were very good so we decided to give them a try. I came in with necessary dental work needing to be done and the normal amount of anxiety with it. I am happy to say we, "nailed it" with our choice. Dr. Jamie and her assistant Laurie could not be more thorough, personal and educational as she proceeds which helps me relax (somewhat-along with a little laughing gas)! The office from the minute you walk in till you leave is very friendly and helpful if I have any questions. She met the standard we were used to and I recommend her to everyone!!

    Sharon B. November 19th 2020

    Emergency Care

    I had an emergency for my tooth today. Two Rivers Family Dental got me in right away and the staff was fantastic!! Made me feel very comfortable! Thank you Dr. Hansen.

    Katie R. August 17th 2017

    "I can smile again"

    My teeth were in terrible shape and plus I did have one broken off ….I did not want to smile at all ….after Dr. Hansen finished fixing my teeth I can smile again... thank You Dr. Hansen and all your staff for helping me smile again.

    Joyce M. December 19th 2018

    Julie Knows Insurance

    Great dental hygienist in Tracy and fine dental work done by Dr. Hansen. Julie knows insurance better than anyone!

    Barb W. April 25th 2018

    Kind and Respectful

    I had recently got a check up and I needed a filing. They were kind and displayed the up most respectful manner in making my dental experience a positive one. I will continue to be a patient of The Two Rivers Family Dental.

    Rebecca M. Febuary 6th 2018