What Is a True Orthodontic Emergency?

An orthodontic emergency is nothing to fear when you have the help of a professional.

While braces have gotten more flexible and durable throughout the years, some issues may arise during your treatment. Fortunately, most of the time, it won’t be anything severe or life-threatening. To avoid these situations as much as possible, you must follow your orthodontist’s instructions when it comes to diet and cleaning habits.

What Are Some Major Dental Emergencies?

Major orthodontic emergencies refer mostly to situations that can’t wait for their next regularly scheduled appointment and need immediate medical attention. Severe trauma, bleeding, and extreme pain are the most common types of major orthodontic emergencies. Don’t be afraid of going to the emergency room if you consider the situation severe enough; after you visit the hospital, you will have to check in with your orthodontist to get back on plan with your treatment.

Major Trauma

Severe hits to the head or face of a patient can break not only the appliances they wear but also their teeth, jaws, and supporting bone structures. If your tooth breaks, the emergency dentist in charge will have to check for any other underlying fractures that could’ve occurred. Once identified, they will have a variety of treatments to fix your tooth. Depending on the damage, your dentist can opt for dental crowns, veneers, bonding composite materials, or even root canals.

While your dentist and orthodontist will always have a hard time working around the appliances and the injury itself, your braces can be incredibly helpful in preventing your teeth from falling out completely.


It’s not uncommon for patients with braces to suffer from some type of infection. Lack of treatment, however, could lead to more severe gum disease that could even end in permanent tooth loss. As everyone knows, braces make the cleaning process much more difficult than usual. Many times this results in poor dental hygiene and infections. To prevent this, you should visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and maintain a proper cleaning routine with the right tools that will help you overcome the added difficulty.

Extreme Pain

Pain, soreness, and discomfort are all common after first getting your braces and the adjustment appointments. Extreme or prolonged pain, however, is not. If you experience bleeding, poking or extreme sensitivity, call your orthodontist to inform them of the situation.

What Is a Minor Orthodontic Emergency and the Available Remedies?

Orthodontic emergencies refer to issues that an orthodontic patient may have with their appliances, like broken ligatures and bent wires. Minor emergencies are problems that don’t represent any immediate danger to the patient’s life or treatment. However, anyone suffering from these issues should try to fix them as fast as they can to avoid pain and delays in their orthodontic treatment.

Loose Wires

It’s normal for the archwires in your braces to move and slide a little during their daily use. Sometimes, they will slide out just enough to scratch and irritate the more delicate tissues in your mouth, like your cheeks and gums. To prevent that from happening, you can stick a tiny bit of dental wax to the pointy end of the wire,  push the wire back with a q-tip or pencil, bend the wire with a pair of sterile tweezers, or cut the wire with clean pliers.

Broken or Loose Brackets

Loose or broken brackets are a bit more serious than loose wires. If a bracket comes loose, it can affect your treatment if not dealt with in time. The more time that tooth is without the corresponding pressure, the more out of plan it will be.

If you have a loose bracket, you can try putting it back in place with a pair of clean tweezers and sticking it into position with some dental wax on top of it. The dental wax will also help prevent any irritation on your inner lips. If the bracket broke and fell off, clean it and save it for your next appointment. Remember to call your orthodontist and inform them of the situation as soon as possible.

Ligatures Coming Loose

Ligatures, also known as o-rings, are the little rubber bands that hold the archwire to your brackets, creating the pressure needed for your orthodontic treatment. Similarly to broken brackets, broken ligatures can have negative effects on your treatment plan if not treated. While a ligature that popped off is easy to fix with a pair of tweezers, a broken ligature will most likely require an emergency orthodontist appointment.

When one ligature breaks, more can follow, so be sure to call your orthodontist as soon as you notice the issue.

Get Your Braces With Us

If you are suffering from an orthodontic emergency here in Issaquah, here at Egger Orthodontics, we are more than happy and qualified to help you get back on track with your treatment. Schedule an appointment here to continue or start your braces treatment with us!