Braces Emergency Care

Dealing with a braces emergency may be easier than you think.

braces emergency care

True orthodontic emergencies are rare, but when they occur we are available to 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. 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. If there is a loose piece you can remove, put it in a plastic bag or envelope and bring it with you to your next appointment. If your braces are poking your cheeks or gums, 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 your discomfort, it is still very important to 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 progress.

General Soreness

When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth, and your teeth may feel tender when eating. Stick to a soft diet until it no longer hurts to chew.

Irritated gums and other sore spots can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater. Dissolve one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of warm water, rinse your mouth vigorously, then spit it out. An alternative (better tasting) mouthwash is the Healthy Gums Rinse by The Natural Dentist, which can normally can be purchased online.

Placing Orabase on the affected area may also help relieve discomfort. You can find this product online or at your local pharmacy. If the tenderness is severe, take whatever non-prescription pain medicine you normally take for a headache or similar pain. If intense pain lasts longer than a day or two, please contact our office.

The lips, cheeks, and tongue may be irritated for a week or two as they learn a new posture and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. We'll show you how to put wax on the braces to lessen this at your first appointment.

Loose Parts and Poking Wires

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

If you have a loose wire, use a pair of tweezers or needle-nosed pliers and try to put it back into place. If you cannot move the wire to a comfortable position, and covering the end with wax doesn’t help, as a last resort use a small fingernail clipper to clip the wire behind the last tooth to which it is securely fastened. If the end of the wire is still sharp, put wax on it until you can come to our office and get it repaired.

If your appliance or a wire is poking you, place wax on the offending part.


Sometimes discomfort is caused by not wearing the headgear as instructed by your orthodontist. Please refer to the instructions provided. If the facebow (metal piece) is bent, 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.


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