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Orthodontic Emergencies

Protecting Your Smile Is Our Priority

True orthodontic emergencies are rare, and it is not likely to ever experience one. However, it is important to know what to do if emergencies do happen, and Dr. Zeifman and her team are here to help. Many orthodontic issues can be handled safely at home, some may require an appointment, and only a few will need immediate assistance. Whatever happens, know that we are only a phone call away and our team is happy to help!

Minor Orthodontic Emergencies

Minor orthodontic issues are routine problems that can often be addressed at home or with an appointment at our office. These issues are usually not serious and include:

If your braces come loose in any way, call Zeifman Orthodontics to determine the next steps. If something has broken off, you can remove it with sterile tweezers and store it in a plastic bag and bring it with you to your appointment.

Sometimes, the end of an archwire will come out of place, and it can irritate the inside of the mouth. Try to push the wire so that it is flat against the tooth with a cotton swab or pencil eraser. If the wire cannot be moved into a comfortable position, place a small piece of orthodontic wax over the wire. As a last resort, if it continues to be bothersome, you may clip the wire with a pair of sharp clippers. Use a piece of folded gauze around the area to reduce the possibility of swallowing the clipped piece. Call Dr. Zeifman immediately to make an appointment.

Irritation from your braces may lead to mouth sores that appear on the cheeks, lips or tongue. Applying a small amount of topical anesthetic, such as Orabase or Orajel, with a cotton swab may provide relief. You can also use orthodontic wax as a buffer between the metal braces and your mouth, as it is an effective way to alleviate irritation. Pinch off a tiny piece of wax and roll it into a little ball. Flatten the ball and cover the irritated area completely. You should now be able to eat more comfortably. The wax is harmless if swallowed. Finally, you can use a warm saltwater rinse to ease discomfort in the mouth.

Your teeth may feel uncomfortable for a day or two after your braces or retainers are adjusted. This is normal and typically lasts for only a few days. Eating soft foods, rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater and taking over-the-counter pain relievers may offer some relief.

Swallowing braces or other appliances is an infrequent occurrence. While alarming, try to remain calm. If you are coughing excessively or having difficulty breathing, you should seek immediate medical attention. Most often, whatever has been swallowed will normally pass in a regular bowel movement.

The vast majority of orthodontic problems are not emergencies. While they can be uncomfortable, they are usually relatively minor and can be handled at home until your next appointment. However, Dr. Zeifman and her team are always happy to answer any questions and offer solutions. Please don’t hesitate to call if you are unsure as to whether an orthodontic issue needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

True Orthodontic Emergencies

Unlike routine orthodontic issues, true orthodontic emergencies need to be addressed immediately by a healthcare professional. After you see a medical provider to address the emergency, then call our office to schedule a follow-up appointment with Dr. Zeifman. True orthodontic emergencies include:

  • Major trauma or injury to the mouth, face, or teeth

  • Infection, swelling or bleeding in the gums or mouth

  • Severe mouth pain that is unmanageable

Orthodontic Care You Can Trust

If you are unsure whether an orthodontic issue requires immediate attention, it is always to be safe than sorry. Contact your trusted orthodontic partners at Zeifman Orthodontics. Our compassionate team will give you instructions for what you can do at home and the next steps. Call our Florham Park office at (973) 408-9183 or our Mattituck office at (631) 248-2400.

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Total Smile Care

For The Whole Family

At Zeifman Orthodontics, we believe that people of all ages deserve the best and most comprehensive orthodontic care. We are dedicated to helping each patient achieve their dream smile in a way that fits their budget and lifestyle.