Frey Orthodontics > Orthodontic Emergencies

Orthodontic Emergencies

True orthodontic emergencies are rare, but they are something that patients may encounter from time to time. Here are some examples of true orthodontic emergencies.

  • any serious injury or trauma to the face, neck, mouth, teeth, or gums
  • any swelling, infection, or bleeding of the gums or mouth
  • any severe pain or discomfort in your teeth, mouth, face, or neck

Orthodontic emergencies: when to seek help

If you find yourself experiencing any of the above symptoms while undergoing treatment with us at Frey Orthodontics, we encourage you to seek help as soon as possible. If you’re a current patient, we suggest you contact our office. We’re located in Algonquin and Naperville, and we’re here when you need us. Don’t hesitate to go to the emergency room if you feel that to be your best option for treating an orthodontic emergency.

You might wonder how you’ll know if an oral issue is worth an immediate ER visit, or if it’s a situation where you can safely watch and wait. One good example of a problem requiring immediate diagnosis and treatment would be any type of severe pain or swelling around your teeth, jaw, or mouth, as this can be a sign of infection and disease. Another would be something like a fractured tooth. The good news is, these kinds of major orthodontic emergencies tend to be few and far between. It’s much more common to experience “minor” emergencies that can be treated at home until Dr. Frey can see you.

Orthodontic emergencies: major or minor?

For more minor emergencies, you may treat the symptoms at home, but do be sure to contact our team in Algonquin or Naperville so we can schedule you for an appointment to assess the issue.

For true orthodontic emergencies, please call Frey Orthodontics as soon as possible, or seek emergency treatment if necessary.

Minor orthodontic emergencies can include:

Mouth sores
Orthodontic appliances themselves don't cause mouth sores. However, some patients do appear to be more susceptible to getting them during the treatment process. These ulcers show up on the cheeks, lips, tongue, or gums, and can be uncomfortable. Irritation from braces can also make them worse. For immediate relief, try using a cotton swab to apply a small amount of topical anesthetic directly to the ulcer. Follow the instructions included with the packaging.

Loose or broken brackets, bands, or wires
If any part of your braces comes loose or breaks in any way, get in touch with one of our doctors as soon as you can so they can determine what your next steps should be. There are a few guidelines to follow to keep your braces safe while you’re waiting for an appointment.
If a band or bracket is broken but still attached to the wire, don’t connect any elastics to it. Try to leave it alone until we can see you. If it's irritating the inside of your mouth, you can cover that part with orthodontic wax. If a piece has actually broken off, please place it in a bag until your appointment with us.

Misplaced archwire, bracket, or tie
As your teeth begin to adjust to orthodontic treatment, they start moving into the positions laid out in your treatment plan. During this process, the archwire that connects them may also move, which can sometimes result in it poking out a bit near the back of the mouth. This may irritate your cheeks and possibly your gums. A wire like this can easily be moved into a better spot by using the eraser end of the pencil or a cotton swab.

If you misplace any wires or ties, they can often be manipulated back into place by gently using a pair of clean tweezers. You can also use a pinch of orthodontic wax to cover any part of your wires or brackets that have shifted and begun to irritate your mouth. This will help give you some immediate relief. Of course, you should definitely contact Frey Orthodontics as soon as possible so Dr. Frey can correct the actual problem.

Tooth pain or loosening

Your teeth will loosen slightly during orthodontic treatment. While this may be concerning, it’s actually what we want them to do. That said, the movement may occasionally cause some slight tenderness. This is especially likely right after you have your braces put on, or following an adjustment appointment. Try doing saltwater rinse twice a day by mixing one teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water, then swish it around your mouth for about 30 seconds.

Orthodontic emergencies: Frey Orthodontics is here to help!

True orthodontic emergencies in Algonquin and Naperville may be rare, but they do happen and you should seek treatment as soon as possible if you experience one. On the other hand, we know that even minor emergency situations can be upsetting. That’s why we’re committed to keeping your orthodontic experience with us as safe and stress-free as possible! Get in touch with us if you find yourself experiencing any discomfort with your orthodontic appliance. We’ll get to the bottom of it and have you smiling again in no time.