Matthew J. Olmsted, DDS MS

Diplomate, American Board of Orthodontics

Specializing in

Invisalign & Braces



2205 Oak Ridge Road, Suite CC * Oak Ridge, North Carolina 27310

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(336) 441-8301

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Emergency Dental Care

Orthodontic emergencies are not common, but if you do have one, you want to know how to handle it at home and if calling into your orthodontist is necessary. You should already be aware of your orthodontist office’s hours and whether or not they accept late-night calls. Most of them will answer calls or text messages at any time by providing emergency dental care. There are some situations where you can handle the emergency at home and wait until the following day, but others, like severe pain, you will need to meet with your orthodontist to discuss.

The First Steps

The first thing to know is what types of orthodontist emergencies you can handle at home on your own, and which require a visit to your orthodontist office. Either way, any time you have an emergency, you should still call in and explain what is happening. If you have lost or have a loose piece come off your orthodontic appliance, you can usually put it in a bag and call the orthodontist the next day to find out what to do with it. Loose wires may come look and poke you, but if you are unable to pull it to the side with pliers and release the pressure and pain, you may need to go into their office for an emergency visit.

Soreness and Pain

A common problem to have after getting your braces on is some soreness or even pain. It is worse the day you get your braces and for a few days afterward, though you may also experience some discomfort after getting the wires tightened, which happens every few weeks. With this type of pain, it is not generally an emergency and you are advised to take pain relief medications and gargle with warm salt water. However, if the pain is severe and not like another pain you have felt before, a call to your orthodontist is definitely warranted. You shouldn’t hesitate to call for emergency dental care, even if you don’t think they will be able to do much about it. You never know what it could be, and calling can give you peace of mind if nothing else.

Loose Appliances or Brackets

Another type of orthodontic emergency is with loose appliances or brackets. If the orthodontic appliance becomes loose, it can poke you in the gums, which can be painful. If this happens, try placing wax you were given on the part that is poking you, and it will give you enough comfort until you can get into the orthodontist office. Wax can also help with a loose bracket, especially if it is still attached to the wire. If is removed, place it in a bag until your next appointment.

Other emergency orthodontic problems require a phone call to the office. When you got your braces, they likely gave you information about their normal business hours and whether or not they answer emergency calls. Keep in mind they may not ask to see you, but calling about a problem is always a good idea.

Dr. Olmsted is committed to providing quality dental care to patients in Oak Ridge, Stokesdale, Colfax, Summerfield, Greensboro, High Point, and Kernersville.  If you would like a consultation, call us at 336-441-8301.