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The Telltale Signs You Need an Emergency Orthodontist

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Patient receiving emergency orthodontic treatment

Orthodontic emergencies can occur anytime, causing discomfort, pain, and inconvenience. While some situations may not require immediate attention, others necessitate the expertise of an emergency dentist or orthodontist. It is crucial to understand when you need professional care and how to manage your symptoms until you can see a specialist. In this blog, we will discuss the scenarios that warrant an emergency orthodontist and provide helpful tips on handling these situations.

Broken or Loose Brackets and Bands

Brackets and bands are essential components of most orthodontic appliances, including braces. These elements can sometimes become loose or break for various reasons, like eating hard or sticky foods, injuring the mouth, or gradually weakening the adhesive. If you experience a loose or broken bracket or band, it is essential to contact your orthodontist immediately. They will assess the situation and determine if you need an emergency appointment or if the issue can be addressed during your next visit.

In the meantime, if the loose or broken piece is causing discomfort or irritation, you can cover it with orthodontic wax to protect your cheeks, tongue, and gums. Do not attempt to remove or adjust the bracket or band yourself, as this can lead to further complications.

Poking or Protruding Archwires

Archwires are the thin metal wires that run through the brackets on your braces or Invisalign, helping to guide your teeth into proper alignment. Occasionally, these wires can shift and protrude, poking your cheeks or gums and causing pain or discomfort. In these cases, you should contact your orthodontist, who may schedule an emergency appointment to adjust or trim the wire.

Until you can see the orthodontist, try using a sterilized pencil eraser or a cotton swab to push the wire back into a more comfortable position gently. If that is impossible, use orthodontic wax to cover the protruding end and prevent further irritation.

Damaged or Broken Retainers

Retainers are crucial in maintaining the alignment of your teeth post-braces. If your retainer becomes damaged or broken, it may not function correctly, jeopardizing your progress in orthodontic treatment. In these situations, it’s crucial to contact your orthodontist promptly. They will determine if you need an emergency appointment to repair or replace the retainer.

Avoid fixing the retainer yourself, as this can lead to further damage or an improper fit. Instead, keep the retainer safe and wait for your orthodontist’s professional advice.

Severe Pain or Discomfort

Some discomfort is expected during orthodontic treatment, especially after adjustments or the placement of new appliances. However, if you experience severe pain that cannot be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers or persists for more than a few days, you should contact your orthodontist. They will evaluate the situation and determine if an emergency appointment is necessary to address the issue.

Injuries to the Mouth or Teeth

Accidents, sports injuries, or falls can result in trauma to the mouth, including damage to your orthodontic appliances or teeth. If you experience an injury that affects your braces or Invisalign, it is essential to contact your orthodontist immediately. They will assess the damage and determine if emergency care is necessary.

In the meantime, rinse your mouth gently with warm salt water and apply a cold compress to minimize swelling and discomfort. Avoid touching or moving damaged appliances, as this can exacerbate the issue.


Orthodontic emergencies can be stressful and uncomfortable, but knowing when to seek the help of an emergency orthodontist is crucial in addressing the issue and ensuring your treatment stays on track. By familiarizing yourself with the situations discussed above and taking the appropriate steps to manage your symptoms, you can minimize the impact of these emergencies on your orthodontic journey. Remember to maintain open communication with your orthodontist, and do not hesitate to reach out if you are unsure about the severity of your situation.

Are you looking for a reliable and trusted dentist in Danvers, MA? Look no further than Danvers Aesthetic Family Dentistry. We are committed to providing top-notch dental care services to patients of all ages. Whether you need routine checkups, teeth cleaning, or more complex dental procedures, we have the expertise and resources to ensure you receive the best care. Schedule an appointment with us today!

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