There is no opportune time for an orthodontic emergency, but I think we call all agree that the absolute worst timing is when you are away on vacation. Dentists often get questions about what to do in a dental emergency. Are you prepared?
The first step would be to call your dental office. The friendly staff will let you know if your problem is something that can wait until you return home. However, if you are on an extended vacation and won’t be coming back for awhile, you don’t want to spend days in pain. Fret not; we’ve assembled a list of our panicked phone calls “top topics” along with advice, so your teeth don’t ruin your holiday.
Prevention Is Best
The best way to handle emergencies is to avoid them altogether. Try to bypass any “uh oh” moments by taking care of any lurking dental issues before packing your bags. Do you have a tooth that’s been giving you trouble? It’s best to get that checked before you’re miles away.
Even if you don’t have any pending oral health issues at departure time, unexpected things happen. No one wants their vacation cut short because a dental emergency strikes.
Lost/Broken Aligner – We recommend you pack your new and you old trays when heading out of town. This way If you lose or break your Invisalign alignment trays, you can switch back to wearing your previous set until you can make it in for a visit. This enables you to maintain your progress until your aligners can be replaced.
Loose brackets on your lingual or traditional braces be irritating and frustrating, especially when you’re away from home. However, you have a little time before you risk adverse impacts on your dental treatment. If this happens to you, try to make it into our office within a few days so your orthodontic appliance can be examined and repaired.
If you are out of town for more than a few days, here’s a little trick as a temporary fix to alleviate discomfort and prevent further damage. Using sterile tweezers, slide the loose bracket along the wire until it is between two teeth, then twist the bracket around and slip it back into the correct position.
Loose appliances can poke you and cause discomfort inside your mouth. Once again, we recommend having your broken device examined and repaired within two or three days, so no need to rush to an out of town orthodontist. Just schedule an appointment as soon as you can. To help avoid discomfort until you’re back home, try using dental wax to cover the part that is bothering you.
Loose wires are another common concern we receive from vacationing patients. While it’s not ideal, you do have a few days before loose wires disrupt your treatment or add time to your treatment plan. Use tweezers to try and put the wire back into place. If doing this doesn’t help, you can clip it just behind the last tooth to which it is securely fastened. Place dental wax in painful areas and schedule an appointment for when you return.
Poking Wire – Grab a pencil eraser and push the painful wire down into a more comfortable position, or place wax on it to alleviate the discomfort. If the discomfort continues or the poking wire is severe, and you can’t make it into our office, contact a dentist or orthodontist near you for assistance.
It is also important to point out that taking proper care of your dental appliances, protecting your teeth during sports and physical activities, and keeping to a strict oral hygiene routine are the best possible ways to prevent orthodontic emergencies.