Emergency Care - Braces

In a pinch? Learn how to take care of your broken braces in an emergency
Orthodontic emergencies aren’t that common, but if an emergency arises, our Smile for Life! team is here for you. Call our office if you experience significant pain or if you have a painful appliance problem that you can’t take care of yourself. We’ll schedule an appointment to resolve the problem. You’ll be happy to know that you might be able to solve many problems yourself temporarily until you can get to our office. If there’s a loose piece that you can remove, put it in a small plastic bag or envelope and bring it with you to your appointment. If your braces are poking you, put soft wax on the piece that’s sticking out. If the wire has slid to one side, you can pull it back to the other side with needle-nosed pliers, replacing it in the tube on the back tooth.
After alleviating what’s causing your discomfort, it’s very important that you call our office as soon as possible to schedule a time to repair the problem. If you allow your appliance to remain damaged for an extended period of time, it may result in disruptions to your treatment plan.


When you first get your braces on, you might feel general soreness in your mouth, and your teeth might be tender to biting pressures for approximately three to five days. It’s important to stick to a soft diet until your teeth don’t hurt when you chew. Did you know that irritated gums and other sore spots can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a warm salt-water rinse? Start by dissolving one teaspoonful of salt in eight ounces of warm water, then rinse your mouth vigorously. Another alternative mouthwash, which tastes better, is the Healthy Gums Rinse by The Natural Dentist. Also, placing Orabase on the affected area may also help relieve your discomfort; Orabase can be found in your local  pharmacy. If your tenderness is severe, take Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain. Your lips, cheeks, and tongue may become irritated for one to two weeks as they learn a new posture and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. Plus, you can put wax on your braces to lessen this. We’ll show you how to do it-  it’s easy!


Sometimes, you can experience discomfort which is caused by not wearing the headgear as instructed by your orthodontist. Please refer to the instructions that we provided. If the facebow (metal piece) is bent, please call our office so we can offer assistance. The headgear should hurt less the more it’s worn, so make sure you get in the prescribed number of hours for best results.


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


If your bracket or band is still attached to the wire, it’s best to leave it in place and then, put wax on it for extra comfort. If the bracket or band can be easily removed, place it in an envelope and save it to bring to your next appointment.


Using a pair of tweezers or needle-nosed pliers, carefully try to put your wire back into place. If you can’t put the wire into a comfortable position, and covering the end with wax doesn’t help, you can use a small fingernail clipper to clip the wire behind the last tooth to which it is securely fastened, but only if the other ways don’t work. If the end of the wire is still sharp, remember to place wax on it.


Using a pencil eraser, carefully push the poking wire down or place wax on it so that it’s no longer poking.