Typically, orthodontic issues do not require an emergency visit to the dentist- but if you are having pain or discomfort from your orthodontic appliance or something is loose or has broken off that shouldn't have, it's a good idea to contact the dentist to find out what to do. Many things can be handled over the phone or by sending a picture to the office so they can see what is going on.
If you have an issue that can't wait until your next appointment, it is considered an emergency. Here are a few things that would be an emergency and what to do if it happens to you:
Tooth knocked out/out of position: unfortunately, accidents happen and if this happens to you, it's important to see the dentist within 2 hours to increase your chances of saving the tooth.
Bracket/band comes loose: the brackets are glued to the front of your teeth and the bands are metal rings that fit around your back molars. The archwire is attached to the brackets by ligatures and slips into a slot in the bands. If a bracket or band comes off or loosens after hours, you do not necessarily need emergency treatment. You will be advised to come in at your earliest convenience when the office is open.
Food stuck in braces and causing pain: if you get food stuck in your braces and you can't get it out by brushing/flossing or with a pick, you'll want to call the dentist for help. If you call during business hours, they should be able to get you in the same day. If not, and the pain/discomfort is tolerable, you should be fine to go a few days or even a week.
Wire poking out, causing pain: after an adjustment, make sure to check for long wires before you leave the office. This can prevent this issue. However, sometimes wires will shift. If you're in pain, you will want to get back in to see the dentist as soon as possible. If you're not in a lot of pain, you may be able to wait until the next appointment.
Separator/spacer is loose: the dentist may put separator/spacers between teeth to make room for the bands that will be placed around them. If one falls out, do the "floss test"- that is, take a piece of floss, fold it in half and tie two knots in it. If the knot moves between the teeth easily, there's sufficient space. If not, you'll want to get into the dentist to have the separator/spacer replaced.
Ideally, it's best to do what you can to avoid orthodontic issues to begin with. Here are some ways to do that:
Follow instructions for eating
Follow dental care instructions
Follow braces care instructions
Wear a mouthguard if you play sports
If you are in or near Basking Ridge, New Jersey, contact Dr. Konstantine Trichas for your dental emergencies. Our normal office hours are Monday and Tuesday 9 AM to 7 PM, Wednesday and Thursday 7 AM to 3 PM, and Friday 8 AM to 1 PM. However, we understand that dental emergencies can happen at any time, so we do have an emergency contact schedule for our patients so that we can treat your dental issues immediately. Call us at (732) 503-8914 to receive dental care as soon as possible for your orthodontic issues.