Emergency Care

Occasionally, some patients will experience an injury to the mouth during treatment. Dental emergencies while wearing braces or other orthodontic appliances generally fall into two categories.

Emergencies Related to Orthodontic Appliances

Sometimes, appliances might be broken or bent during your orthodontic care. If there are any disturbances, such as loose bands, loose brackets, broken or poking wires, please call our office for an appointment during patient hours. For your convenience and the convenience of scheduled patients, it is not possible to handle emergencies on a walk in basis. In the meantime, here are some helpful hints to remedy some of the problems you may encounter until our office can see you.

    • If a tie wire is irritating your mouth, cover it with bees wax or tuck it under the arch wire with a blunt object like a pencil eraser or Q-tip.
    • A loose band or bracket can generally be left in place until seen in our office. Call Rad Orthodontics, during patient hours, when you notice a loose band or bracket. We will schedule you to reattach the loose appliance, if indicated.
    • A broken or poking archwire can often be bent in with a pencil eraser or cut with nail clippers. Call our office, during patient hours, if you do not feel the problem has been resolved properly.
    • Watch the video below that explains how to handle an orthodontic emergency.

Direct Injuries to the Mouth and Teeth

Following a direct injury to your mouth or teeth, whether undergoing orthodontic care or not, immediately ice the injured area and you should contact your regular dentist as soon as possible. Usually an x-ray of the involved tooth or teeth is needed to determine the extent of injury. If a tooth has been displaced, knocked out, or fractured, it is best to contact your family dentist first, since we may not have the necessary materials or anesthesia required to treat these injuries. If the appliances are dislodged or displaced, we will need to replace or adjust the appliances as soon as possible, after you have seen your general dentist, depending upon the comfort level of the patient.

Managing Pain Or Discomfort During Treatment

Our doctors are available if you need us outside of our regular work hours. Simply call the office to get the contact information for the doctor on call. We’re happy to help!

After you get your braces or other appliance, your lips, cheeks, and tongue can become irritated for one to two weeks. This is common, and happens as they learn a new posture and become accustomed to the raised surface of the braces. The best way to manage this is to put wax on the braces that are causing irritation. When you get your braces on, the team at Rad Orthodontics will make sure you have wax and know how to apply it.

If the tenderness is severe, you can take Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain. Keep in mind that pain management and anti-inflammatory medicines such as Aspirin, Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), and Naproxen Sodium (Naprosyn, Anaprox) actually slow tooth movement, so we do not recommend using them often during your treatment.

Even if you are able to alleviate your discomfort, it is vital that you call our office as soon as possible to schedule a time to repair the problem. It is important for our trained staff to check the appliance or brackets to make sure it is still working the way it is supposed to. Allowing your appliance to remain damaged for an extended period of time may result in disruptions to your treatment plan.

After-Hours Support

You’ll be happy to know that due to the thoroughness of our comprehensive examinations, our patients experience very few emergencies. True orthodontic emergencies are rare, but in cases when they occur, we are accessible to you 24/7. We hope you never experience a dental emergency, but if you do, we want you to know we are always available.

As a general rule, you should call the office when you experience pain or have a painful appliance problem you can’t take care of yourself. We’ll be able to schedule an appointment to solve the problem.

You might be surprised to learn you can often solve many problems temporarily and keep yourself comfortable until you can get to our office.

We will also explain these techniques during your appointments, as appropriate. After alleviating your discomfort, it is very important that you still call our office as soon as possible to schedule a time to repair the problem. Allowing your appliance to remain damaged for an extended period of time may result in disruptions to your treatment plan.

If an emergency occurs after hours, we can be reached 24 hours a day. Dr. Mehdy Rad, Dr. David Rad, Dr. Carmine Petrarca, and Dr. Shiva Mostowfi can be reached through our office telephone numbers: 301-345-7710 (College Park), 301-299-3993 (Potomac), or 301-656-1600 (Bethesda).