Emergency Braces Care

Although orthodontic emergencies are rare, some issues may cause you discomfort. Fortunately, many such issues can be temporarily solved at home until you can visit our office. If you experience a problem, please call the office to tell us about it. We can assess the urgency of the situation and provide you with some care tips to remedy the problem at home or advise you to come in soon, especially if you are experiencing severe pain. The following problems are just a few of the most common issues our orthodontics patients experience along with some solutions you can try until you can make it in for your scheduled appointment.

Common issues with braces

Loose Brackets

Loose brackets can sometimes occur for patients with braces. This is likely caused by biting on something hard or sticky.  If the bracket (square metal piece) seems likely to fall off or can easily be removed, you can take it off and place it in a container or envelope to bring to us on your next visit. On the other hand, if the bracket does not seem easily removable and is attached to the wire, you can leave it alone until you can visit the office. If the loose bracket makes you feel some discomfort, you may place some wax on it for quick emergency care relief. If this happens during closed office hours, slide the bracket over to its neighboring bracket and attach the two together with wax, it will prevent the bracket from sliding around in the short term.

If you have a loose wire, all you need is a pair of tweezers to guide your loose wire into place. If you are unable to do that, you can always use nail clippers to snip the portion of the wire that is loose, and remove it. We can replace the wire on the next business day. A long wire is generally a result of tooth movement, closing space, or a broken bracket. If this is not bothering you, it is fine to leave until your next appointment. If your long wire is causing you discomfort, you can call our office to have it trimmed. If this happens during non office hours, you can roll up a ball of wax and push it onto the end of the wire to prevent it from poking. You can also use a clean eraser on the end of a pencil to gently push the wire in a new direction that isn’t poking you. We will trim your wire when you are in for your next visit at the office.


Sores In Mouth

Sometimes when your braces are initially placed or if your teeth are moving, the braces can rub on your cheeks. Consistent rubbing can cause a sore to develop in your mouth. Use wax to act as a band aid until the sore heals and rinse with a warm salt water rinse 3 times daily. The rinse will help the sore to heal faster and the wax will prevent the bracket from continuing to rub. Once your mouth heals, the tissue will be stronger and more resistant to the rubbing. You can also use a numbing gel such as Orajel for relief.

Broken Spring

A broken spring can be disconcerting. A common issue with springs is that they come apart (the rod comes out of the spring). The good news is, this is easy to fix at home! Open your mouth wide and place the rod (smooth straight piece attached to the lower teeth) and insert it into the spring which is connected to the upper teeth. Slowly close your teeth, and that should be it! If you struggle with this, you can always use dental floss to tie the spring and/or rod to the braces. Just lie it parallel against the teeth and tie it with dental floss until we are able to see you. If a spring has broken off from your braces, save the spring in an envelope and give us a call to inform us what has happened. We want to make sure we have enough time at your next visit to address this as well.



Lost Elastic Tie

If an elastic tie falls off, it is no big deal! Call us to let us know.  Sometimes, you can wait until your next appointment to have it replaced.  Other times, we will want to see you for a quick visit to put the elastic tie back on.


Snapped Elastic Chain

If your elastic chain snaps, do not fret! This is not an emergency and should not cause you any discomfort. Please call our office to let us know, however, if you have an appointment coming up, we will replace it at that time.

Lost Separator

If your separator comes out, you can try replacing it at home. Use 2 pieces of floss. Slide the floss through the middle of the separator and pull either piece of floss to opposite sides allowing you to pull the separator stretching it to become skinny. Simply floss the separator back into place. If you have issues, please call to inform us.



Sore Teeth

It is normal for teeth to be sore a few hours after the braces are placed or wires are adjusted. This discomfort happens when the teeth begin to move. Usually it lasts for about 4 days, however, everyone is different. Soft foods and Advil are the best things to have during the initial movement in these few days. Try a smoothie! The cold will feel good on your teeth too.

middle aged man with tooth ache

For patients who are new to braces, we understand that these common issues don’t feel common at all when you experience them for the first time. However, you’ll soon become adept at remedying small issues that arise until you can make it to the office. By following our care tips and making your regularly scheduled appointments, you can often head off many issues that arise with your braces. As always, we encourage you to call our office if you experience these or other issues so we can help you assess the situation. We do provide an emergency line to assist you if the pain or discomfort you feel cannot wait until the next business day.