How to Handle Orthodontic Emergencies With Your Braces

August 9, 2017
J. Courtney Gorman, DDS, MS

How to Handle Orthodontic Emergencies With Your Braces

Although it is rare for orthodontic emergencies to happen, they do occur from time-to-time. It’s important to remember that if your bracket is loose or if one of your wires is sticking out, you don’t have to come to the office right away unless you are in pain or experiencing severe discomfort. Instead, you may be able to fix it yourself.

Below, we’ve outlined the ways to treat some orthodontic emergencies with your braces at home:

Avoid These 10 Bad Habits While Wearing Braces

1. Loose or Broken Bracket

This could occur if you eat hard food or play with your braces too much. If it happens and you aren’t experiencing any pain or discomfort, simply leave the bracket in place and cover it with wax if needed, until your next scheduled appointment. If your bracket pops off completely, please bring it with you to your next appointment and call ahead to let us know.

2. Poking Wires

Sometimes, your wires may stick out and irritate your cheeks. When you first get your braces, make sure you aren’t experiencing this problem before you leave our office. But if the irritation starts later, you may be able to push the wire back inside your molar tube with a pencil eraser, cotton swab, or ball of wax. You could also attempt to use clean nail clippers and rubbing alcohol to cut the wire yourself. If the irritation persists, give us a call.

3. Discomfort or Soreness

It is common for your teeth to become sore after we place your braces, lasting about a week at most. Be sure to continue eating soft foods and chewing only sugarless gum. This may be uncomfortable at first, but chewing actually increases bloodflow to your teeth and will help reduce discomfort.

4. Completely Disconnected Wire

If this happens, you can try to push it back into the tube using your hands or tweezers. If that doesn’t work, try using clean nail clippers to cut the wire as close as you can to the next bracket. But if it continues to bother you before your next scheduled appointment, give us a call.

5. Broken Elastics

If one of your elastics breaks and you don’t have any extras, give us a call. We’ll let you know if you need to come in and get a new one right away, or if you can wait until your next appointment.

6. Lost Retainers

Call the office immediately if you lose or break your retainer. You’ll need to schedule two additional appointments, one to get an impression taken, and another one to insert your new retainers.

7. Traumatic Event—Call Us Immediately

If a traumatic event like a fall or blow to the face happens, you may need immediate care. In these situations, X-rays are often necessary to determine the extent of the injury and whether or not the orthodontic appliances have been damaged. Teeth may change their position and sometimes the bone surrounding the teeth is damaged. If a traumatic event occurs, contact your orthodontist as soon as possible.

Knowing what to do in an orthodontic emergency can make your experience with braces way more pleasant. In most cases, the solutions are simple and something you can do at home. The more educated you are, the more comfortable you or your kids will be in dealing with these emergencies.

As always, don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions! We’re happy to help.


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  • Fantastic staff who put the person (and their teeth!) at the center of the experience. Child-friendly waiting areas. I've had nothing but good experiences over my nearly 10 years with Gorman and Bunch. Cannot recommend highly enough!

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    Pete Freeman

    We were very pleased with the staff and services at Gorman & Bunch. From the beginning, they were very friendly and made us feel comfortable with our first ortho visit. Dr. Carly was very nice and attentive. We ended up with braces for my son on the first visit and they were quick and thorough and made our experience very positive. Definitely would recommend them! They are awesome!

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    I received Invisalign treatment and had a lot going on. As a mom of two children ,under two years old, it’s tough making doctor appointments but let me tell you they make it work! I was with Dr. Carly at the Westfield office and she always encouraged my little sons to come during my appointments. This made things so much easier for me. The staff at Gorman and Bunch were always welcoming and inviting. They would remember you and are honestly genuine people. Let me tell you it is hard finding good medical practices these days but these people are the best. I forever will recommend Gorman and Bunch to young kiddos and adults.

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    Amazing experience all around. The staff is super friendly and Dr. Carly always makes my daughter feel comfortable with the work being done. We are thrilled with the progress we are seeing, and the customer service is always top notch.

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