Emergency Info


How To Handle Orthodontic Emergencies

As a Twin Cities orthodontist that serves the Minneapolis-St. Paul area including the communities of Roseville, Mendota, and Mendota Heights, Dr. Tammy Meister is well known for offeBoy with braces smilingring comprehensive, personalized treatment to patients of all ages. Our practice aims to make your orthodontic treatment go as smoothly as it possibly can so you can enjoy the time you spend improving your smile!

Unfortunately, small emergencies can sometimes occur during treatment. But the good news is that most orthodontic emergencies can be dealt with your own, so you won’t have to fuss with calling us every time you run into a problem. To help you solve common problems and issues with your braces, we’ve put together the following info.

For Major Emergencies

Thankfully, there are very few major emergencies that can occur during orthodontic treatment. These include:

  • Trauma or injury to the teeth, mouth or face
  • Swelling or infection of the gums, mouth or face
  • Severe, unmanageable pain or discomfort

If any of these emergencies happen to you, it’s important to seek help right away. Head to the nearest emergency room, if you think that’s your best option, or call your family dentist. Your dentist is fully trained and capable of handling a wide range of dental problems and can likely provide you with the treatment and care you need. Depending on what has occurred, we can adjust your orthodontic treatment plan as needed.

For Minor Emergencies

Most emergencies that occur during orthodontic treatment are minor and can be handled quite easily on your own. However, even the most minor emergency can cause some irritation or discomfort so it’s important to know what to do. Here are a few of the most common problems people face while undergoing orthodontic treatment, along with the solutions:

Loose or broken brackets, wires or bands

This type of problem is typically caused by either eating hard or sticky foods or by playing around with the braces on your teeth. If a loose bracket or band is still attached to the wire, leave it be and don’t connect any elastics to it. If a bracket or band is irritating your mouth, cover the part that’s rubbing or poking with orthodontic wax. If a bracket or band comes off, be sure to save any loose parts for when you visit us. If you don’t have an upcoming visit scheduled with us, give us a call to set up an appointment so we can fix what’s wrong with your braces.

Misplaced or poking archwire, bracket or tie

As your teeth begin to move, the archwire that runs through your brackets can poke the back of your mouth or irritate the inside of your cheeks. If this happens, try moving the wire into a more comfortable position using a Q-tip or a pencil eraser. You may also use tweezers to gently move a misplaced wire or tie, as long as you’re careful. If the wire won’t move and the problem persists, you can carefully cut the end of the wire off using a pair of nail clippers that you’ve sterilized in alcohol. If that doesn’t do the trick, put some orthodontic wax on the part that’s causing discomfort and then contact us for an appointment.

General Tooth Discomfort or Loosening

If it feels as though your teeth are loosening during orthodontic treatment, don’t panic as this is completely normal. The braces you’re wearing are just doing their job which is to gently and consistently move your teeth into proper alignment. This tooth movement can sometimes cause tenderness and discomfort, and especially right after your braces have been placed or adjusted. If you have some minor discomfort, you can typically find relief by:

  • Taking an over-the-counter pain reliever according to package instructions
  • Placing a warm washcloth or heating pad on the outside of your jaw
  • Rinsing your mouth out with warm salt water (one teaspoon of salt in an 8-ounce glass of warm water)

Contact Your Twin Cities Orthodontist

The friendly team at Meister Orthodontics wants to make sure your treatment is as comfortable as possible, regardless of the circumstances. If you have any questions or concerns about your treatment, please feel free to contact us and we’ll help! If you’d like to set up a free initial consultation with Dr. Meister for the early treatment your child may need to find out more about adult treatment for yourself, please call us at (651) 699-2013 or fill out our online appointment request form. We look forward to seeing you soon and giving you many reasons to smile!