Emergency Care

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.  If you are calling outside of office hours, there is always an emergency number that will be available for you to call if needed.

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 or a piece of Mack's earplugs on the piece that's sticking out. Mack's silicone earplugs can be purchased at the pharmacy and have a slightly stickier consistency than normal wax. 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.


General soreness

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 Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), Acetaminophen (Tylenol), or whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain. 

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 or Mack's earplugs on the braces to lessen this. We'll show you how!


Loose, Broken, or Lost Retainer 

If your retainer appliance is loose to the point where it is falling out when you talk or sleep, or if you have lost or broken your retainer, be sure to call our office as soon as possible.  


Loose bracket or band

If your bracket or band is still attached to the wire, you should leave it in place and put wax on it if needed for comfort. If the bracket or band can be removed easily, place it in an envelope and save it to bring to your next appointment.


Loose wire

Using a pair of tweezers or needle-nosed pliers, try to put your wire back into place. It is okay to use a piece of floss to tie the wire into place: tie the floss around the bracket in place of the missing colored o-ring. If you cannot put the wire into a comfortable position, and covering the end with wax doesn't help, as a last resort use a small fingernail clipper or a wire cutter to clip the wire behind the last tooth to which it is securely fastened. If the end of the wire is still sharp, place wax on it.  Call our office or emergency number if you need any help.  You will need to come in to the office within a few days to fix the loose wire.


Poking wire

If the wire is poking in the back, try to use a wire cutter or small fingernail or toenail clipper to clip the wire as close as possible to the brace in front of the poking wire. You may also try using a pencil eraser to push the poking wire down or place wax or Mack's earplugs** on it so that it is no longer poking.

**Mack's earplugs are a silicone-based earplug that last longer that wax and can help greatly in a time of discomfort. Mack's earplugs can be found at most drug stores.