Orthodontic Emergencies

Orthodontic emergencies.At first, having orthodontic treatment may take a little getting used to. It isn't uncommon to experience a bit of soreness when appliances are first put on, or some minor aches as teeth begin moving into new positions. Yet it's comforting to know that genuine orthodontic emergencies are rare.

If you think you may have an emergency, however, the first step is to determine the severity of the problem: Is it an urgent situation that requires immediate attention, or a minor problem that you can take care of yourself, temporarily, until you can come in to the office?

A Major Emergency

There are only a few true orthodontic (or dental) emergencies. They include:

  • Trauma or injury to the teeth, face or mouth
  • Infection or swelling of the gums, mouth or face
  • Severe, unmanageable discomfort or pain in these areas

In any of these situations, you should seek help as soon as possible — go to an emergency room, if that's your best option. Generally, however, the place to start is at the dental office. If, for example, you have a fractured tooth, that immediate problem requires diagnosis and treatment. Afterwards your orthodontic treatment plan can be adjusted as needed. Likewise, severe pain or swelling could be a sign of infection or disease, which also needs immediate treatment.

Some Minor Troubles

Fortunately, the vast majority of orthodontic problems are minor compared to these situations — but they may still cause discomfort or irritation. In general, it's best to try and soothe the immediate cause of the discomfort, and then call for an appointment. Here are a few of the more common orthodontic problems, along with some tips on what you can do to relieve them at home:

Loose or broken brackets, bands or wires
This problem is often caused by eating hard or sticky candy or food, or playing with the braces. If the band or bracket is still attached to the wire, leave it as is — but don't connect any elastics to it! You can cover it with orthodontic wax if it's irritating the inside of your mouth. If it has come off, save it. In either case, call our office to let us know what happened, and we will recommend the next step.

Misplaced or poking archwire, bracket or tie
As the teeth start to move, the wire that connects them (archwire) may begin poking near the back of the mouth or irritating the cheeks. You can try moving the wire into a better position with a pencil eraser or a Q-Tip. If the wire won't move, you may be able to cut the end off with a nail clipper sterilized in alcohol — but before doing so, please call for guidance or instructions. Often, you can also use tweezers to gently move a misplaced wire or a tie that's causing problems.

When wires or brackets cause irritation, covering the metal parts with wax will often help ease the discomfort. As with any of these types of problems, it's best to make an appointment so it can be taken care of.

General tooth pain or loosening
It's normal for teeth to become slightly loosened during orthodontic treatment — that shows they're moving! Sometimes, this movement may be accompanied by tenderness, especially after braces are placed or adjusted. For minor soreness, you can use your regular over-the-counter pain reliever. A twice-a-day salt-water rinse may also help: Mix one teaspoon of salt in an 8-ounce glass of warm water, and rinse for 30 seconds. A warm washcloth or heating pad placed on the outside of the jaw can also offer some relief.

While actual emergencies are rare, the goal is to make orthodontic treatment as comfortable as possible.

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Testimonials

What Our Clients Say About Us

  • "As weird as it sounds, I truly enjoy my time here and love that I always leave having learned something new! Dr. Moody and his wife, Jill, are some of the most genuine people I have ever met. They truly care about their patient’s well being. You can’t help but feel at home and most importantly, at ease when you’re in his chair. I am beyond thankful to have found Anchor Dental and look forward to the years ahead."
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  • "Love love love Anchor Dental!! Dr Moody and his team are the best I’m so happy to have found them!! They helped me out so much with my teeth and educated me on preventative techniques to help with my Recessive gum line and loss of bone. They are always super nice and treat you like family. It took me along time to find a good dentist that I can trust since moving to Anchorage and now that I found Anchor Dental I’m very happy.

    I’m appreciate all they do for me and I would HIGHLY recommend them to anyone looking for a dentist who will go above and beyond!!"
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  • "Dr. Moody and his team are the best that I ever been too. Today on February 17, 2021, my kiddos and I have an appointment ."
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  • "As always, my visit to Anchor Dental was great. I was there for a cleaning and I was very happy with my result."
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  • "Today was my first dental appointment since Covid and I was reassured and pleased with the mitigation measures taken by Anchor Dental. The teeth cleaning was as usual excellent. Everyone is friendly and professional. I actually look forward to going to the dentist's office!"
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  • "Dr. Moody and his staff are the best. The positive and comfortable environment is very welcoming and makes you feel like family. I wish there were 10 plus stars because they deserve it."
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  • "Fantastic staff with the utmost care and consideration for their patients. Dr. Moody and his team make the whole experience painless with their skilled and compassionate care."
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  • "Anchor Dental is fantastic. Atmosphere was awesome the husband & wife team was impressive. ,& their love, life story restored my faith in humanity."
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  • "This dental office is fantastic! The hygenist was amazing and took her time cleaning my teeth really well. I have some sensitivity so they provided me with the comfort of some numbing gel. I was very comfortable and happy with my appointment. Dr. Moody is an excellent dentist. He bonded with my fiance while he was waiting for me and seems they had a good chat! All staff was amazing!"
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  • "Dr. Moody was awesome, and made sure that I wouldn't be in any pain. He and his assistant were singing along to the songs playing and were silly enough to take some of the anxiety of having some extractions done away. I'd certainly recommend him."
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  • "The staff at Anchor Dental is amazing! They are so friendly and professional, even my children enjoy going to the dentist!!"
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  • "As always I was very pleased with my visit to Anchor Dental. The staff is really nice, efficient and professional. They really know what they are doing. Everything is explained to you and Dr. Moody is great."
    Caren A.
  • "Dr. Moody has been my dentist for the past few years. He has helped me eat better through molding and ordering partials. Also, he has a caring staff that really listens to my concerns. I will always recommend friends, family and colleagues to him for the best dental care. Just got a temporary crown, and almost no pain!"
    David S.
  • "I am very pleased with my experience here because I did not see a dentist for years and they made it very pain free and comfortable. The personable and outgoing happy people made it even better."
    Nina J.
  • "5 stars all around. I am glad I found this place and will definitely be recommending this to friends and family."
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  • "I was pretty nervous about getting my wisdom teeth pulled but Dr. Moody made it a blast and fly by. They take my insurance too so I will be coming back for my regular teeth cleanings! :D"
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  • "Friendly, professional staff that welcomes you from the moment you walk through the door. Everyone has a different outlook for their dental care, the folks at Anchor Dental are incredibly accommodating."
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  • "Walking in you are greeted with a smile. The office staff is more than helpful when needed. Dr Moody has eased my nerves and I now feel comfortable when I need work done. Everyone is very friendly."
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  • "I really enjoyed my dental experience here. The dentist and employees were fun, professional, and very caring. I will definitely refer friends and family."
    Kelly S.
  • "Dr. Moody is the best and most genuine dentist professional I have ever been too. I will say that even after I move out of state, I will fly back just for my dental care."
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  • "I wasn't able to get in for the cleaning I was scheduled for but was able to still have an exam & X-rays. Dr. Moody talked with me extensively about my teeth, dental health, & future care. He answered all the questions I had & I never felt rushed. I would highly recommend Dr. Moody & his staff at Anchor Dental."
    Marion J.
  • "I walked into this dental office and immediately felt warm and cozy. They have an amazing and caring staff that will go out of their way to assist you any way that they can."
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  • "It was scary at first but it was awesome. Great service, funny and friendly people. They did it with tender, love and care and you’re all appreciated for an awesome job."
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