How Do I Handle Orthodontic Emergencies? (Part I)


However much effort we put into prevention, accidents and emergencies do happen. And despite our best efforts to take care of our braces, orthodontic emergencies may happen. These situations/emergencies are as follows:

* Food caught between teeth

* Ligatures coming off

* Orthodontic discomfort

* Mouth Sores

* Irritation of lips and cheeks

* Protruding wire

* Loose brackets, wires or bands

* Appliance is swallowed

* Headgear not fitting

* Severe trauma with loose teeth

* Broken retainers

* Small cuts

An orthodontist may not be immediately available to attend to the emergency. As such, it will be useful to know the corrective action until the next orthodontist appointment. The actions to take for the following situations are as follows:

* Food caught betwen teeth

Food caught between teeth is not an emergency but it can cause social embarrassment and discomfort. To resolve this issue, a dental floss is inserted between the teeth to dislodge the tooth. An interdental brush can also be used to remove the bits of food.

* Ligatures coming off

Ligatures refer to the appliance used to hold the archwire to the bracket. The ligatures can either be rubber bands or small, fine wires. If a rubber ligature falls off, a pair of tweezers can be used to reinsert it by looping it around the bracket. If a wire ligature comes loose, a pair of tweezers should be used to remove them. If a wire ligature is not loose but is protruding, it should be bent down and away such that it is not poking. A missing ligature may be accompanied by other missing ligatures. As such, it is best to examine if there are other missing or broken ligatures. This should be brought to the attention of the orthodontist during the next appointment.


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290 Orchard Road, #10-01

Singapore 238859

Tel: 67389332

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