Emergency Care

Orthodontic emergencies are, thankfully, very rare. But when they occur, we are here for you!

If you experience severe pain or have a painful appliance problem that you can’t take care of yourself, call our office as soon as possible. Please do not come directly to the office – by calling us, you will allow us to create a time to see you. Even if you have a regular appointment scheduled, call us immediately to notify us if you need an appliance repaired.

The following section provides suggestions on how to address most Orthodontic problems at home. However, for any situation you cannot resolve on your own, contact our office as soon as possible so we can schedule an appointment for you.

General soreness

A frequent problem is tooth pain after the braces have been adjusted or placed for the first time. It tends to make eating more difficult. One suggestion is to eat more soft food. You may take acetaminophen or other non-aspirin pain relievers while you adjust to your new braces. A warm washcloth or heating pad may reduce the soreness in your jaws.

Irritation of Lips and Cheeks

Irritation of lips and cheeks from braces rubbing tends to occur when the braces are first placed. Relief Wax is available and can provide comfort while you get used to your braces. To apply the wax, pinch off a small piece and roll it into a ball the size of a pea, then pushed onto the brace where the irritation is occurring. Dry the brace with a tissue pro to apply the relief wax.

Ligatures Come Off the Brace

Small round doughnut-shaped elastic ligatures are used to keep the wire and brace together (in the following image, they are light blue). If sticky foods are eaten, they can partially or completely come off the brace. Using small tweezers, they can be put back around the brace.

Loose Band or Brackets

If a bracket or part of an appliance comes loose, call and schedule an appointment during office hours to have the bracket rebonded or the appliance re-cemented. If the loose bracket is moving around the wire, slide it back to the next bracket and stick them together with a little wax until your scheduled visit to the office for repair. DO NOT try to take it off. The loose band can be held in place by covering it with wax relief placed over the band or brace.

Wire irritation

Sometimes discomfort caused by a wire on your braces can be resolved by moving the wire away from the irritated area with a cotton swab or eraser. If the wire does not move, try covering the end of it with a small amount of wax. If the wire is painful, you can cut it with nail clippers or scissors that have been washed and sterilized in alcohol. If you cannot resolve the wire irritation, call our office for an appointment.

Loose appliance

If your appliance is poking you, place wax on the offending part and call our office to schedule an emergency appointment.

Lost Separators

It is common for a separator to come loose after a few days in the mouth. Do not worry about a separator coming loose or falling out, but please call our office to see if it needs to be replaced.


Sometimes discomfort is caused by not wearing the headgear as instructed by your Orthodontist. Please refer to the instructions provided by our office. If the facebow (metal piece) is not fitting correctly, please call our office for assistance. The headgear should hurt less the more it’s worn, so be sure you get in the prescribed number of hours of wear.

If any metal becomes loose or broken, please call our office. We will determine what type of emergency it is and will schedule the appropriate appointment.

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