Sometimes, appliances might be broken, lost or bent during your orthodontic care. The more moderate to severe problems will happen much less frequently, by following instructions that were given to you. If there are any disturbances, such as loose bands, loose brackets, broken or poking wires, please contact us during business hours.
Emergency Related to Orthodontic Appliances
It is rare to have a true emergency that requires immediate attention by an orthodontist. So it’s a bit of a misnomer to call most of the problems on this page “emergencies.” Most orthodontic “emergencies” can be handled at home and then later handled at the office during regular business hours.
When you encounter problems, it is helpful, if you can provide the following information:
- Picture of the problem area – you can text it to us at our texting number or you can email it to us; if you want to send it as securely as possible, we recommend you email the photo using Sendinc (you can create a free account).
- If something broke or is loose – How did it happen? When did it break? Where is broken/loose?
- If something is hurting – When did it start? How did it start? Where is it hurting?
For the following problems, please either call our office during regular business hours &/or email us, if you do not feel the problem has been resolved properly. We will contact you back during regular business hours. For the convenience of scheduled patients, it is not possible to handle “emergencies” on a walk-in basis. In the meantime, here are some helpful hints to remedy some of the problems you may encounter until our office can see you.
- Poking archwire – cover it with dental wax; you can also try sliding it to the other side.
- Poking wire tie – cover it with dental wax or tuck it under the archwire with a blunt object like a pencil eraser or Q-tip.
- Poking bracket hook – cover it with dental wax.
- Loose band, bracket or another glued-in appliance – contact Marshall Orthodontics, during business hours; we will usually schedule you to come in earlier than your existing scheduled appointment, to reattach the loose appliance.
- Broken powerchain – contact Marshall Orthodontics, during business hours; we will almost always want a photo of the area to be sent to us, to be able to evaluate.
- A missing o-tie – contact Marshall Orthodontics, during business hours; we will almost always want a photo of the area to be sent to us, to be able to evaluate.
- Broken archwire – contact Marshall Orthodontics, during business hours; we will almost always want a photo of the area to be sent to us, to be able to evaluate; we will usually schedule you to come in earlier than your existing scheduled appointment; if the broken end is poking you, cover it with dental wax; if it’s too deformed or too long to be able to be handled with dental wax, last resort option is to cut the wire with nail nippers, but we prefer you contact us before attempting this.
- Broken or lost removable appliance (retainers, Schwartz, removable space maintainers, etc.) – contact Marshall Orthodontics, during business hours; we will almost always want a photo of any broken area s to be sent to us, to be able to evaluate.
- Watch the video below for some tips on how to handle some of the above situations at home.
Direct Injuries to the Mouth and Teeth
Following a direct injury to your mouth or teeth, whether undergoing orthodontic care or not, immediately ice the injured area and you should contact your regular dentist as soon as possible. Always consider going to urgent care or emergency room, for non-teeth injuries. Usually, an x-ray of the involved tooth or teeth is needed to determine the extent of the injury. If a tooth has been displaced, knocked out, or fractured, it is best to contact your family dentist first, since we may not have the necessary materials or anesthesia required to treat these injuries. If the appliances are dislodged or displaced, we will need to replace or adjust the appliances as soon as possible, after you have seen your general dentist, depending upon the comfort level of the patient.
After Office Hours
If a true orthodontic emergency arises (severe pain, severe discomfort) after hours, please call our office and listen to your options. Information is available on how to reach the emergency line. You will need to leave a message and someone will get back to you as soon as possible. Be sure to include the patient full name and as much detail as possible.