Orthodontic Emergencies During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Visits during COVID-19 outbreak

Many things have changed in our lives due to the Coronavirus pandemic. All non-essential businesses have been shut down or very limited in their scope and hours. As important as I know orthodontics is to the beautifying of your smile and creating a good bite (occlusion), your current adjustments of your braces are not deemed an essential procedure. At Peterson Family Orthodontics, to comply with these rules and to conserve personal protective equipment for medical professionals, we are only seeing emergency procedures at this time. We are postponing all adjustment appointments, putting braces on, and removing braces.

All of this is to protect you and your families, my team, and anyone else you may be in contact with in the process. That being said, we are still available to help you in any way we can.

What if I have a poky wire during the COVID-19 outbreak?

If you have a wire that has slid out the back, is poking the cheek, or creating a sore in your mouth, that would be classified as an emergency. If it is not addressed, it can cause unnecessary harm to you or your child. It can create a large ulcer which can get infected and make it so you or your child is not able to eat sufficiently.

If you can’t get into the office right away, you should place a big piece of wax back on the wire and cover the whole bracket. If you don’t have access to wax, you can take a small piece of paper towel, fold it up a few times and get it wet. You can then place it back by the wire between the wire and the cheek to help protect your cheek from getting caught by the wire. Then call our office to get scheduled to come in and have it clipped. Our office, as well as many other orthodontists, have limited hours now. I would recommend to call first before showing up at the office.

Sometimes the office can talk you through on how to clip the wire with a clean pair of nail clippers to save you the hassle of coming into the office. Here at Peterson Family Orthodontics, if you’d like, we can do a video call with you to guide you through that process and save you the time of coming all the way into the office for a 30 second wire clipping. 

What if I have a broken bracket?

This is a great question. The short answer is, most likely your orthodontist will have you wait to fix a broken bracket. Most broken brackets don’t cause any pain or discomfort, so it’s usually safe to just wait and fix it at your next appointment or as soon as the office opens. The definition of an emergency or urgent care from www.ada.org (The American Dental Association) is the following.

Urgent Dental care focuses on the management of conditions that require immediate attention to relieve severe pain and/or risk of infection and to alleviate the burden on hospital emergency departments. These should be treated as minimally invasively as possible.

A broken bracket is not an emergency. But don’t worry, a broken bracket won’t greatly increase your treatment time in braces. If it is a bracket that you currently wear an elastic on, then you should contact your orthodontist to see what he/she would prefer you to do. Normally he/she can have you wear the elastics in a slightly different configuration and allow you to continue wearing your elastics to correct your bite. The elastics are SO important to your treatment if he/she has asked you to wear them.

Depending on what type of treatment you have, and if you have an “active” spring appliance in your mouth, your orthodontist may want to check in on you.  Every case is different and hopefully your orthodontist is communicating with you during this unprecedented time.

If you are local, don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions. We hope to be your orthodontist in San Tan Valley, Queen Creek, and Florence for all your orthodontic needs.

Schedule your FREE consultation today!

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