Emergency Care

True orthodontic emergencies are rare, but when they occur we are available to help 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. Incidents of significant trauma to the face or teeth from falling or as a result of an injury are certainly cause to see us as soon as possible. We’ll be able to schedule an appointment to resolve the problem.

You might be surprised to learn that you may be able to solve many problems yourself temporarily until you can get to our office. You will need to know the names of the parts of your appliances so you are able to identify which part is broken or out of place.

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 and undesirable tooth movement.

The following recommendations may help you relieve your discomfort:


General soreness

You may feel general soreness to your mouth and teeth soon after having appliances placed. This soreness is normal and should last only about three days, particularly when chewing or biting.

It is acceptable to use some mild medication for relief of discomfort, like Tylenol or Motrin, again for only three days. The lips, cheek, and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks until they grow accustomed to the surface of the braces. You may put wax on the braces to lessen this. We’ll show you how!



Sometimes discomfort is caused by not wearing the headgear regularly as instructed by your orthodontist. Please refer to the instructions provided by our office. If the facebow is bent, please call us for assistance. Forcing a bent facebow into the molar tube may cause additional loose molar bands. A properly adjusted and worn facebow should not cause significant discomfort.


Loose appliance

If your appliance is poking you, place wax on the offending part, or if it is removable, simply remove it and call our office right away.


Loose band or bracket

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


Loose or broken wire

Using tweezers, try to replace the wire back into the bracket slot or molar tube. If unsuccessful, as a last resort use a small fingernail clipper to clip the wire as close as possible behind the last tooth to which it is securely fastened. If the end of the wire is still sharp, place wax on it.


Poking wire

Using a pencil eraser, push the poking wire down or place wax on it to alleviate the discomfort.