True orthodontic emergencies are rare, but when they occur we are available to you. As a general rule, you should call our office when you experience severe pain or have a painful appliance problem you can’t take care of yourself. We’ll be able to schedule an appointment to resolve the problem.

You might be surprised to learn that you may be able to solve many problems yourself temporarily until you can get to our office. If there is a loose piece that you can remove, put it in a plastic bag or envelope and bring it with you to your next appointment. If your braces are poking you, put soft wax on the piece that’s sticking out. If the wire has slid to one side, you can pull it back to the other side with needle-nosed pliers, replacing it in the tube on the back tooth.

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.

When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth, and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. Stick to a soft diet until your teeth do not hurt to chew. Irritated gums and other sore spots can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a warm salt-water mouthwash. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in eight ounces of warm water, and rinse your mouth vigorously. If the tenderness is severe, take Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain. Aspirin, Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and Naproxen Sodium (Naprosyn, Anaprox) actually slow the tooth movement, so it is not advisable to use them frequently while wearing braces.

The lips, cheeks, and tongue may become irritated for one to two weeks as they learn a new posture and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can put wax on the braces to lessen this. We’ll show you how!

Broken Archwire
If the main archwire breaks (the one that goes all the way around the outside of your braces), call our office to schedule a time to fix the wire for you. If the wire is poking, place a large ball of wax on the wire so you are comfortable until able to see us to address the problem.

Loose Wire
When teeth begin to straighten, wires can sometimes shift and slide around. If your wire comes out of the back tube, then you may try to place the wire back into the tube. If unable to address the issue on your own, then place wax and notify your dental assistant at your next appointment. If you are in pain, then you may also call for an appointment.

Loose Band or Bracket
If a band or bracket comes loose from the tooth, call our office for an appointment. While a tight band or bracket actually protects a tooth from decay, a loose band or bracket may trap food that can cause tooth decay. If the band or bracket is still attached to a wire, leave it in place and apply wax if there is discomfort. If the band or bracket comes completely out, place it in an envelope and call for an appointment.

Lost Tie-wire or Elastic Tie
Around each brace is a small elastic tie (some are colored and some are clear) that holds the wire in place. Should one of these ties fall off the brace, please notify one of our dental assistants at your next appointment. This is not an emergency that requires immediate attention. Although this is not an emergency that requires immediate attention, please notify one of our dental assistants at your next appointment.

Poking Wire
Sometimes a poking wire can be safely turned down so that it no longer causes you discomfort. Try to tuck the wire back in and out of the way with the blunt end of a toothbrush, or some other smooth object. If you are unable to take care of a poking wire, apply a large ball of wax and call our office for an appointment at the next available opening.

Accidents Involving Teeth
Contact our office immediately, or contact your general dentist. Please remember: If you are involved in contact sports, a “braces-friendly” mouth guard can be fit over your braces for added protection.