How Do I Handle Orthodontic Emergencies? (Part IV)


In How Do I Handle Orthodontic Emergencies Part (III), we looked at the different ways to resolve protruding wire and loose brackets, wires or bands. In Part IV, we will look at appliance is swallowed and headgear not fitting.

* Appliance is swallowed

An appliance which is swallowed may cause alarm and panic for the patient. As such, the first step is to calm the patient if possible. However, since a swallowed appliance may lead to acute medical and life threatening complications, a sense of urgency should be adopted in managing the patient. An appliance which is swallowed may either be inhaled or ingested. For the former, the piece of appliance is aspirated and goes down the respiratory tract while in the latter, the appliance goes down the gastrointestinal tract.

* Headgear not fitting

Not wearing the headgear according to the instructions prescribed by the orthodontist may result in headgear discomfort. Sometimes, the discomfort is caused by the headgear not being worn for the correct period of time and the longer and more consistently the headgear is worn, the less the discomfort. If the discomfort is not bearable, Ibuprofen or Advil may be taken in order to ease the patient through the transition stage of getting used to the appliance. If the headgear or facebow is bent, a consultation with the orthodontist should be arranged in order to restore the headgear to the correct position.


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290 Orchard Road, #10-01

Singapore 238859

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