Determining what a dental or orthodontic emergency is isn't always so clear-cut. While obvious injuries to the teeth and damage to braces are emergencies, you may wonder what else is either a "wait and see" incident or a true emergency. In the case of children who wear orthodontic devices, most incidents are emergencies. Myers Orthodontics, a Fountain City family orthodontist, defines what constitutes an emergency for young patients.

Missing Wires and Orthodontic Brackets

There are reasons that your Knoxville children's orthodontics comes with special instructions. Wires and brackets are susceptible to intense force. Intense force comes in the form of:

  • Blows to the face, even by accident
  • Falling face-first onto hard surfaces
  • Chewing or biting hard foods or sticky foods that damage braces
  • Bruxism, while asleep or awake (A lot of kids that grind their teeth in their sleep find that they wake up without a bracket or with a loose wire.)
  • Chewing on non-edible items like pencils, pens, or clothing

If you lose a bracket and may have swallowed it, you should be okay, but you will have to replace it immediately. A loose wire is also dangerous as it can fall away from the other brackets and start poking into the soft tissues of your mouth. Everything has to be put back in place and secured, which counts as an emergency.

Loose Teeth

There is also a reason why your Fountain City family orthodontist refuses to begin orthodontic treatment before the age of seven. Most baby teeth are not able to assist in maintaining the position of the orthodontic appliances and will fall out. If your child had braces before all the baby teeth fell out, he or she would be at risk for a potential orthodontic emergency when the baby teeth start to fall out. Adult teeth are necessary to keep braces in place.

However, it does occasionally happen that an adult tooth in a child's mouth becomes loose. It may signal a more serious health problem or an issue with the tightness of the orthodontics. (The latter is quite uncommon, but every once in a blue moon a tooth with a shallow root can wiggle loose when braces are tightened and adjusted.) At any rate, be sure your child schedules an appointment with Knoxville children's orthodontics which specialize in tooth reinsertion and oral and maxillofacial surgery.

Infections That Have Traveled Around the Mouth

It sounds weird, but if you have a strep infection in your throat, it can travel to the rest of the mouth. The bacteria can settle in places under the gumline, resulting in infections that may have been minor but are now growing in intensity. Your child will complain of pain in the teeth even when you discover that he or she has strep throat. When that happens, wait at least 48 hours for the antibiotics to kick in, and then schedule an emergency appointment with Myers Orthodontics.