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Common Orthodontic Emergencies

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True orthodontic emergencies are rare, but when they do occur 1st Family Dental is here to help you anytime. Most problems with orthodontic appliances that occur for both adults and children can be managed using the kit that 1st Family Dental provides for you at the appointment where you receive your orthodontic appliance.

Common Orthodontic Emergencies: When to Come In

Loose brackets and poking wires can be irritating and frustrating, but as long as you come in during the next few days to have them fixed at 1st Family dental, you or your child is not at risk for any adverse impacts on your treatment.  If you notice any of the issues we list below, we encourage you to contact 1st Family Dental to make an appointment to have your orthodontic appliances examined and repaired.

It is also important to note that taking proper care of your appliance and wearing a mouthguard during sports and physical activities is the best possible way to prevent minor (or major) orthodontic emergencies, when combined with an effective oral hygiene routine.

Home Remedies & Interim Care for Minor Orthodontic Issues

You may be able to temporarily solve many problems yourself until you schedule an appointment with our office. When working with your appliances, you need to know the names of the parts of your appliances so you are able to identify what 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 in your treatment plan.

General Soreness

When you get your braces on, and sometimes following adjustments, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. This can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a warm saltwater mouthwash. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in 8 ounces of warm water, and rinse your mouth vigorously.  If the tenderness is severe, take whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain.  If pain persists, contact us for an evaluation.

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 the braces to lessen this. We will show you how to use the wax when we give you your kit at your appointment when you have your appliance placed.


Sometimes headgear discomfort is caused by not wearing the headgear as instructed by your orthodontist. Please refer to the instructions provided by your orthodontist. If the facebow is bent, please contact us for an evaluation. Headgear typically becomes more comfortable the longer it is worn, so the prescribed hours is extremely important.  If you are wearing your headgear for the prescribed hours and are still experiencing pain or discomfort, contact us and we will be happy to help you.

Loose Appliance

If your appliance is poking you, place wax on the part that is bothering you, until you are able to contact us for an appointment to have it examined and repaired.

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 wire comes out entirely, wrap the bracket with a tissue. Then you should immediately contact us for an appointment to have it examined and repaired.

Loose Wire

You can use tweezers to try to put your wire back into place. If doing this and using wax doesn’t help, clip the wire behind the last tooth to which it is securely fastened. If your discomfort continues, place wax on it.  Then contact us for an appointment to have it examined and repaired.

Poking Wire

You can use a pencil eraser to push the poking wire down, or place wax on it to alleviate the discomfort. If the discomfort continues or the poking wire is severe, please contact us for an appointment to have it examined and repaired.

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