Dental Emergencies


Emergencies

During office hours, immediate attention will be given to your child’s situation, and your child will be seen as soon as possible. After office hours, please give the office a call and follow the instructions provided. Your call will be returned as soon as possible. If your child is experiencing a serious or life threatening emergency, please call 911 or visit the nearest emergency room.

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Below are instructions for handling some minor common dental emergencies.


In the case of a toothache…


Gently clean the area around the tooth by rinsing the mouth with warm water and gently flossing to remove any particles that may be lodged in the tissue around the tooth. If the pain continues, or if the area around the affected tooth is warm, please call our office to schedule an appointment.


If a lip, gum, cheek, or tongue gets cut…


Apply ice to help reduce swelling and apply pressure with a clean cloth or sterile gauze to stop any bleeding. If the bleeding continues, call your physician or visit your local emergency room.


If a baby tooth gets knocked out…


Please call our office to schedule an appointment.


If a permanent tooth gets knocked out…


Call our office right away and take these steps. 1) Do not touch the tooth root, but hold the tooth by the crown and gently rinse the tooth with water. 2) Place the tooth back into the socket as quickly as possible and bite down on clean gauze to hold it in place. 3) If the tooth cannot be placed in the socket, put the tooth in a small container of milk or saliva and bring it with you to your appointment.


If a tooth gets chipped or broken…


Gently rinse the area with lukewarm water and place a cold compress on the face to reduce swelling. If you can locate the piece of broken tooth, place the piece in milk, and bring it with you to the office. If more than half of the tooth is broken off, please call us immediately.


Orthodontic Emergencies


If you experience a breakage or loosening of any of your appliances please call our office as soon as possible. Please do not come directly to the office. By calling us first we will be able to schedule a time to see you. If you have a scheduled appointment already, please call to let us know that you need something repaired so that we may add additional time to your appointment if needed.

If you need assistance after hours, please call our office phone line and leave a message on our emergency service so that we may contact you. Please be sure to leave your name, phone number with area code, and a brief message.


Review the topics below for solutions to some common non-emergency problems:


Discomfort or soreness


Non-prescription pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, can help with the temporary discomfort that sometimes occurs for the first day or two after an orthodontic adjustment.  A diet of soft foods for a day or two can also be helpful.


Ligatures come off


There are two types of ligatures that may be used to attach the arch wire to the brackets. They may be tiny rubber bands or small, thin wires.

If a rubber band ligature comes off, it may be possible to put it back in place using clean tweezers.

If a wire ligature comes off, it can be removed with clean tweezers. If it is poking the mouth but is not loose, it may be possible to bend it back down away from the tissues with a Q-tip or clean pencil eraser. Let our office know about the problem so that we can decide if we need to see you before your next scheduled appointment.


Irritated cheek tissues


Non-medicated orthodontic relief wax can be placed over brackets or wires that may be irritating the mouth.


Food stuck in braces


Dental floss, an interproximal brush, or a toothpick can be used for removing food that gets caught between teeth or wires. Sometimes tying a knot in the dental floss before threading it through the brackets can help to catch and remove the food.


Wire out of place


If a wire is out of place and poking the cheek, use a Q-tip or pencil eraser to push the wire against the tooth. If this is not possible, or if the wire is still uncomfortable, place wax over the end of the wire and call our office to set up a time to have the wire adjusted and put back into place.


Sores in the mouth


Rinsing with warm salt-water several times a day can help to heal sores in the mouth. To lessen discomfort, topical anesthetic treatments, such as Orabase or Ora-Gel, can be applied with with a Q-tip to any abrasions or sores in the mouth.


Preventing infections


For minor sores in the mouth, Peroxyl, an antiseptic rinse containing hydrogen peroxide, can be used to reduce inflammation and prevent infection. Use Peroxyl up to 4 times per day after brushing. Refer to the product label for specific instructions.