5 Common Orthodontic Emergencies and Their Causes

5 Common Orthodontic Emergencies and Their Causes

December 1, 2021

Orthodontics is the process of straightening teeth for aesthetic purposes or function. Braces are the commonly used devices in this procedure. A multitude of components will be placed on the mouth of the patients  undergoing braces procedures. The components include metal pieces and rubber.

Orthodontic emergencies include any injury to the mouth, face, or teeth and also bleeding or swelling of the gums or mouth. If you experience any damage to the braces’ bands, wires, and brackets, visit an emergency dentist near you as soon as possible. If you’re not in pain, you can visit a dental professional the next day for treatment. Some of the causes of braces damage include:

  • Experiencing trauma to the facial area
  • When you eat hard food
  • By chewing inedible objects

Types of Orthodontic Emergencies

There are several types of orthodontic emergencies that patients come with at Willow Wood Dental. The most common are listed below:

Loose Brackets

Brackets are small ceramic or metal appliances attached to the teeth by using dental adhesives or resins. Although the adhesive is strong, it can snap off sometimes. Luckily, a wire connects the brackets; hence, they’ll just stick to the wire without causing major problems. However, if both the wire and the brackets are moving, then the adhesive is not correctly cured. If the bracket has fallen or rotated around the wire, place the bracket in its right position or use orthodontic wax as a temporary adhesive. Then, you should see your orthodontist to re-fix the bracket.

Missing or Loose Rubber Bands

Bands are thin metal rings cemented around the teeth with braces to rectify several bite problems. They include crossbites, underbites, and overbites. The rubber bands range at angles used to place angular force against the teeth. Loose bands, if left untreated for a couple of weeks, can lead to tooth decay. This is due to the dental bonding appliances sealing the inner portion of the band from saliva, bacteria, and plaque. If harmful bacteria attack the crevice, an acid is produced, which weakens the tooth enamel. When a rubber band falls out, it’s not considered an orthodontic emergency. You’re supposed to replace the bands throughout the treatment. However, if your child swallows a band, it might not be safe. Alert your orthodontist immediately if you have loose or missing bands.

Having Problems with Wires

Broken or bothering wires are common orthodontic problems. Wires are fixed to the brackets to keep the pressure on your teeth while they move to the right position. When a wire breaks, it causes irritation or soreness to the inner cheek leading to general discomfort. For pain relief, use tweezers to bend the wire back against the teeth. Use an orthodontic relief wax if the broken wire cannot bend out of the way. This is a temporary solution as you wait to make an appointment with your orthodontist as soon as possible.

Oral Cavity Accidents

These accidents vary from car to sports accidents. If you’re experiencing oral cavity damage, visit an emergency orthodontist immediately. Your dentist will adjust the braces in the proper place since the soft tissues need time to heal. To avoid oral cavity accidents, you should get a mouthguard from your dentist to protect your teeth.


When the braces are new, they take some time to toughen up inside your mouth. As a result, the braces and brackets can rub against your teeth, causing some lip and cheek irritation. Fortunately, this can go away on its own within a few days. Use a saltwater rinse to soothe your mouth or coat the brackets with wax to prevent irritation. Preventing irritation requires your dentist to adjust the braces.

Handling Orthodontic Emergencies While Travelling

Here are some of the major emergencies and what to do if any happens to you.

Traumatic Dental Injury: Your braces may get so damaged that they can’t be treated at home. Contact an urgent dental care office near you for immediate treatment if you are traveling and encounter an injury that leads to bleeding or making your teeth lose.

Swallowing a Piece of Appliances: Sometimes, a bracket can become loose and fall, making you swallow it without realizing it. If this happens, call a friend to use a flashlight and look for it in your mouth, and if it’s invisible, you should visit an emergency room immediately.