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Common Problems to Prepare for

Orthodontic emergencies are rare and usually not serious.  However, we understand they can be upsetting and we want to help with any discomfort.


Orthodontic discomfort

As the teeth move into new positions, slight discomfort is a normal. The pain tends to occur 1 to 2 days after the braces are placed or sometimes after an adjustment appointment. The pain may get worse before getting better. You may want to try an over the counter pain medication (Tylenol is preferred) just prior to the adjustment appointments. 


Loose or Broken Brackets

Broken or loose braces are generally not considered an urgent problem in most cases. When a bracket comes off of a tooth, it is still normally attached to the wire with the mini colored rubber band.  It is normal to move or spin around the wire. If uncomfortable, press a little wax around it.  Call our office so that we can assess the situation.


Loose Band

When a band (ring around the back tooth) comes loose and isn’t treated soon, saliva and bacteria may enter into the gap.  This may cause decalcification (white spots) or a cavity to form on the tooth surface. It can form rather quickly, causing damage to the enamel. Call our office so that we can assess the situation.


Poking Wire

Wires can feel comfortable at first, then become pokey over time. Roll up a piece of wax into a ball, dry the area first with a paper towel, and then cover the pokey area. The wax will smooth the area.  If wax does not resolve the pain, call our office so that we can see you to assess the situation. Never attempt to cut the wire because you can end up swallowing it, or worse, breathing it into your lungs! 


Wire Comes Out of Back Molar Tube

Sometimes while eating the wire can get bent out of the back molar tubes.  If this happens you can take a strong cotton tweezer or mini plier and pop it back into the tunnel of the back molar braces. If it is pokey, place wax and call the office.

Loose Expander

An expander is used in some patients to help widen the upper jaw. If the appliance is loose, or if it falls out completely, results may be lost. Call us immediately so we can assess the situation.


Lost/Broken Retainers

Teeth can shift quickly soon after braces if a properly fitting retainer isn’t worn.  Call our office immediately to assess the situation.  If braces have been off for more than 6 months, the chance of shifting is lower and addressing lost/broken retainers should be completed with 5-7 days.


Sores Cheeks, Lips and/or Tongue

These tissues callous over time. Place a small amount of wax over the areas that are particularly painful.  However, limiting the use of wax will help build up those callous tissues, so try to resist.



Trauma and injuries can be scary.  There are usually not any home care remedies and we recommend immediate contact with your dentist and/or physician, or emergency room based on severity.  We will assess the situation in our office orthodontically once the bigger concerns are addressed.


You may call the office after hours for further assistance as instructed above or if you feel it is warranted.

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