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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 cannot take care of yourself. We will schedule an appointment to resolve the problem.

You might be surprised to learn that you may be able to solve many problems temporarily yourself until you can get to our office. You need to know the names of the appliance parts so you can identify which one 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.


General soreness

When you first get your braces, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and your teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. This can be helped by rinsing your mouth with a warm salt-water mouthwash. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in eight ounces of warm water, and rinse your mouth vigorously. Placing Orabase on the affected area may help; this can be found in a pharmacy. If the tenderness is severe, take acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

The lips, cheeks, and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can put wax on your braces to lessen this. We will show you how!



Sometimes discomfort is caused by not wearing the headgear as instructed. Please refer to the instructions we provided you. If the facebow is bent, please call our office for assistance. The headgear should hurt less the more it is worn, so be sure you get in the prescribed number of hours.


Loose Appliance

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


Loose 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 comes out entirely, wrap the bracket with a tissue.


Loose wire

Using a pair of tweezers, try to put your wire back into place. If doing this and using wax does not 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 your discomfort continues, place wax on it.


Poking wire

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