Orthodontic emergencies are needed when pain, swelling or bleeding becomes
unbearable. This occurs when part of an orthodontic device becomes broken
or detached. Learn more about which problems would create an orthodontic
On a fixed or removable orthodontic appliance, the wires may loosen and
protrude into the skin, causing irritation. The orthodontist can re-adjust
the screws using pliers or re-tighten the wires. In general, patients
should contact their orthodontist and try not to remove or repair the
detached part themselves.
Some wires or bands break off if the person bites down too hard or experiences
trauma to the mouth. The orthodontist can reattach the parts immediately
or insert orthodontic separators between the teeth at their next appointment.
No one should continue to wear a broken device, whether it’s fixed
The protruding wires or bands may cause skin irritations. To deal with
the pain, the patient may be prescribed an over-the-counter pain relief
medication. The orthodontist may apply a relief wax on the skin or damaged
parts of the appliance.
Some people are allergic to the parts that make up orthodontic devices.
Some are allergic to nickel or chromium and have hypersensitive immune
responses upon contact. Others are allergic to the resin-based adhesives.
An orthodontist can remove the appliance immediately and schedule an appointment
to install a new one.
In the most severe cases, the patient’s airway is obstructed by the
detached part of an orthodontic appliance. An object that is stuck inside
of the patient will cause stomach pain or discomfort. If an orthodontist
cannot help, a general doctor or surgeon is needed.
During an emergency, the orthodontist may recommend ways to prevent an
accident from occurring again. Patients should avoid eating hard or sticky
foods too often. Brushing teeth too harshly is another cause of breakage to avoid.