Emergency Info

Orthodontic Care in Scottsdale, AZ

At Affiliated Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, we're proud to offer world-class pediatric dental and orthodontic care to patients throughout Scottsdale, Grayhawk, and the North Phoenix area. In addition to providing a range of dental and orthodontic treatments, we strive to be a comprehensive resource to you for dental health – and that includes helpful hints on what to do in case of an orthodontic emergency. 

What Should I Do in an Orthodontic Emergency?

Thankfully, true orthodontic emergencies are exceedingly rare – but they can happen. We can handle most problems over a phone call, but if you have a more serious or pressing issue, we will schedule an emergency appointment ASAP and get you back on track to your new smile. While emergencies can range from minor issues to serious problems, we're here to help you no matter what happens, and the first step is always to call our office. 

Minor Orthodontic Problems

Orthodontic emergency treatment with eraser tipThe vast majority of problems with your orthodontic treatment will be minor, and many can be handled entirely over the phone. Still, even a minor problem can cause discomfort or impair your treatment. Even for minor issues, you should still call our office to determine how best to handle the issue. Any of the following problems qualify as a minor orthodontic emergency:

  • Loose or Broken Braces: If a wire, bracket, or band in your braces breaks or loosens, it's important to take care of it right away. If the piece is still attached to your braces, leave it in place and avoid touching it until your repair appointment. If it falls out of your mouth, pick it up and bring it with you to your emergency appointment. If any part of your braces is causing you discomfort, you can cover them with a piece of dental wax until we make repairs.

  • Discomfort from Pointy Archwires, Ties, or Brackets: Sometimes, the archwire – the thin, springy metal wire running through your braces, can shift position as your teeth move and begin to poke your mouth. If this happens, try using a clean pencil eraser, Q-tip, or a sterilized pair of tweezers to move it to a more comfortable position. If that doesn't work, try covering the area with dental wax. As a last resort for serious discomfort, you can clip the wire with a sterilized pair of nail clippers – but please call us before attempting this. 

  • Toothaches or Loose Teeth: As your braces move your teeth, you may experience minor discomfort or soreness in your teeth or gums. This is normal – in fact, it shows that your braces are working. Most discomfort is very mild and fades within a few days. For help managing the discomfort, try using a warm salt water rinse or over the counter painkillers like Tylenol. However, if the pain is beyond what you can handle or you notice the pain getting worse or not going away, it could be a more serious issue and we encourage you to contact us right away.

What Counts as a Major Orthodontic Emergency?

Orthodontic emergency treatment with dental waxSerious orthodontic emergencies are rare, and truly only occur if they have the possibility of damaging your teeth, jaws, or mouth. The main major orthodontic emergencies include:

  • An injury or other trauma to the mouth, teeth, or the face
  • Swollen or infected gums or any other infection or serious swelling in the face
  • Severe, unmanageable pain in the mouth or face

If you experience any of these problems, don't wait: call us immediately at 480-556-0600. We'll talk with you to better understand the situation and schedule an emergency appointment. If you can't reach us or you feel that you're in immediate danger, skip the call and head straight to the emergency room. Then, call us to tell us what happened when you feel safe. 

Contact Your Scottsdale & North Phoenix, AZ Orthodontist

No matter what the problem, the first step is to call us at 480-949-0332 for our Grayhawk office or 480-556-0600 for our Scottsdale office. We'll give you advice and instructions on how to handle the situation and schedule your repair appointment if necessary. And as always, don't hesitate to reach out if you have further questions. We look forward to hearing from you, but we hope you never have to experience an orthodontic emergency!

To review the parts of your braces, please see the Orthodontic Terms page.