Emergency Care

It is extremely rare for a genuine orthodontic emergency to be experienced. Instead, when we talk about orthodontic emergencies, we mean the small issues that arise with typical treatment. If ever you are severely injured in an incident involving the teeth and braces, seek out emergency care at a local hospital. There is a risk of brain injury with any blow to the head, as well as potential neck problems, both of which are more important to address than orthodontics. We will be here for you after the emergency room.

Now, for the types of “emergencies” we are talking about. These can include anything from sore lips due to the braces rubbing against them to a piece of the appliance coming off. Here is how you should handle things.

Those Little Aches and Pains

Having braces should never be genuinely painful. However, you can expect to deal with soreness for short periods of time. Allow us to explain.

Braces place pressure on the teeth to move them. When the teeth suddenly have new forces pressing on them, they get a little sensitive. This sensitivity is most pronounced when biting down on food. When the braces are first put on, this sensitivity can last about five days, and it returns for a few hours after each adjustment.

Another way braces can cause soreness is through irritation of the soft tissues of the mouth. This is because your braces stick out beyond your teeth and are made of metal—not the softest material out there. They can rub against the lips and tongue and cause them to feel a bit raw.

For both types of pain, saltwater rinses and over-the-counter pain relievers are great. For the irritation of the soft tissues, dental wax on the problematic parts of the braces will help. Know that both types of soreness go away as you adjust and are well worth the end results of treatment.


Many patients with headgear complain about discomfort. Assuming the appliance is not damaged, the only way to get past this discomfort is to wear it as often as directed so that the body can adjust. If the appliance is damaged, call us so we can repair it quickly.


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


If the bracket is still attached to the wire, use wax to hold it in place a little better, then call us right away. If it has come off, put it somewhere safe, call us, then bring the bracket to the appointment we schedule.


Using the back of a spoon, tweezers, or another clean tool, attempt to work the wire back into place. If needed, you can tie it in place with floss. If nothing works, you can clip with wire behind the last spot it is fastened to. Then, call us so we can make a more permanent fix.


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