Emergency Care

Although true orthodontic emergencies are rare, our office is available to you if and when they occur.  As a general rule, you should call our office when you experience severe pain or have a painful appliance issue that cannot be remedied on its own. We will be able to schedule an appointment to assist in resolving the problem.

You might be surprised to learn that you may be able to solve many problems temporarily until you arrive in our office.  If there is a loose piece that you can remove, place it in a plastic bag or envelope and bring it with you to your next appointment.  If your braces are poking you, place soft wax on the piece that is sticking out and causing discomfort. If the wire has moved to one side, you may be able to 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 call our office as soon as possible to schedule an appointment to repair the issue. Allowing your appliance to remain damaged for an extended period of time may result in disruptions to your treatment plan.


General soreness

After your appointment to have braces placed, it is normal to experience soreness and tenderness in your mouth and teeth with regard to biting pressures from three to five days.  Maintain a soft diet until it no longer hurts to chew.  Irritated gums and sore spots may 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 a medication you normally would take for headaches.  Aspirin, Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and Naproxen Sodium (Naprosyn, Anaprox) actually slow the tooth movement, so it is not advisable to take these frequently while wearing braces.

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



Sometimes discomfort is caused by not wearing the headgear as instructed by your orthodontist.  Please refer to the instructions provided by your orthodontist so any discomfort may be minimized.  If the facebow (metal piece) is bent, please call our office for assistance.  As the headgear is worn over time, the pain should be minimized, so be sure to wear the appliance the prescribed number of hours.


Loose appliance

If your appliance is poking you, place wax on the offending part.


Loose bracket

If your bracket or band is still attached to the wire, you should leave it in place and apply wax 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 move your wire back into place.  You may use a piece of floss to tie the wire into place.  First, tie the floss around the bracket in place of the missing colored o-ring.  If you cannot move the wire into a comfortable position and covering the end with wax does not alleviate discomfort, a last resort may be to use a small fingernail clipper 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 to ease discomfort.


Poking wire

Using a pencil eraser, push the poking wire down or place wax on it so that it is no longer causeing discomfort.

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