Accidents always happen. Be sure to know what to do when one arises.

A dental emergency is an injury to your teeth or gums that can be potentially serious. Ignoring one can increase the risk of permanent damage. For all orthodontic dental emergencies, it is important to contact our orthodontist as soon as the injury occurs. Provide detailed information about the injury to your mouth. We will be able to give you instructions on how to care for your mouth in the time before coming to our office. In some instances, we may recommend emergency care.

Here are some common dental injuries and how to care for them.

Broken braces and wires
Try to reposition the wire if it is poking your cheek, tongue or gum. If you can’t reposition the wire, cover the end with a small cotton ball or gauze until you can get to our dental office. Never cut the wire by yourself.

Loose brackets
You can remove the loose bracket and bring it to our dental office. If the loose bracket is not causing any irritation, you can leave it in its place. See our orthodontist as soon as possible in order for us to re-glue the bracket.

Objects caught between teeth
Carefully try to remove the object using floss. If you cannot get the object out, call our office. It is important to never use a pin or sharp instrument to remove the object since you may cause injury to your gums or the surfaces of your teeth.

Soft-tissue injuries
Injuries to your tongue, cheeks, gums and lips can result in bleeding. To control the bleeding, rinse your mouth with mild salt water. Apply a moistened piece of gauze or tea bag to the bleeding site for about 15 minutes. You may also use a cold compress to relieve pain. If the bleeding doesn’t stop, contact our dental office.

You can also take simple precautions to avoid dental emergencies:

• When participating in sports, always wear a mouth guard
• Avoid chewing ice, popcorn kernels and hard candy
• Never use your teeth to cut things – use scissors

If you encounter a dental emergency, always contact our Richmond orthodontist office as soon as possible. We can provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to care for your mouth or may ask you to come into the office. If you have any additional orthodontic dental emergency questions, be sure to contact us.