Emergency Care

While true orthodontic emergencies are relatively rare, you can rest assure that we will be here for you if something happens.  Be sure to call our office if you experience severe pain or have difficulty with your orthodontic appliance that you are unable to resolve.  We will schedule an appointment for you as quickly as possible.

There are many problems that you can temporarily solve on your own while you are waiting for an appointment.  Make sure to bring any loose pieces from your appliance if you come in for emergency care.  Use wax on any loose wires that are sticking out.  Use needle-nosed pliers to pull loose wires gently back into place.

Even if you can alleviate your immediate pain, you should still call and schedule an appointment as quickly as possible for a more permanent solution to your problem.  A damaged appliance that is ignored for an extended period of time could result in a delay in your treatment plans.

Emergency Care
When your braces are first put on, you can expect to
feel a general soreness and tenderness in your mouth and teeth for three to five days.  During that time, a soft diet can help minimize the pain that comes with chewing.  Sore gums and other sore spots inside the mouth may be helped by rinsing with a salt-water solution consisting of a tablespoon of salt in eight ounces of warm water.  Here are a few other options for pain relief.

  • Healthy Gums Rinse by The Natural Dentist
  • Orabase may be placed on the sore area
  • Take Tylenol or whatever pain reliever you normally use for aches and pains
  • Aspirin, Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and Naproxen Sodium (Naprosyn, Anaprox) will slow the teeth movement towards alignment; therefore, it is recommended that you avoid using them frequently while wearing orthodontic appliances.
  • Put wax on your braces to lessen the pain to lips, cheeks, and tongues if they are irritated during the first week or two.

If your headgear is not worn according to the instructions provided by your orthodontist, you may experience some discomfort.  Follow the instructions, and let the front office know if your facebow becomes bent.  Wear the headgear the number of hours that are prescribed by your orthodontist.  This should cause it to hurt less the longer it is worn.


Apply wax to any wire that is sticking out and chaffing the inside of your mouth.

Loose Appliance
  • If a loose bracket or band remains attached to the wire, leave it in place and put wax over it to minimize the discomfort.
  • If the bracket or band is easily removed, place it is a secure container and bring it to your next visit.
Loose Bracket

If you can, use a pair of tweezers or a pair of needle-nosed pliers to put loose wires back in place.  You may need to use a piece of floss to tie the loose wire into place until you can make an office appointment.  To accomplish this, simply tie the floss around the place where the colored o-ring usually goes.  If the wire cannot be moved into a comfortable position and wax fails to help, as a final resort you can use a small pair of fingernail clippers to clip the loose wire behind the last tooth to which it is securely fastened.  You can still use wax to protect the inside of your mouth from and sharp ends.

Loose Wire

Use the eraser end of a pencil to push the loose wire down or use wax to keep the sharp end from poking.

Poking Wire