Most orthodontic emergencies aren’t true emergencies. If you have a broken appliance or are experiencing intense pain, please call our office as soon as possible so we can address the issue. We will do our best to fit you into the schedule for an appointment. Even if you have a regular appointment scheduled, call immediately to notify us of your situation. This probably sounds surprising, but most orthodontic problems can be remedied at home. While you wait for the appointment you made with us, these guidelines will help you resolve minor problems. Please note that even if the pain caused by your broken appliance goes away, you will still need a repair appointment.

Lost Separator

Most patients will lose a separator during their treatment. This isn’t a big issue, but please call us to see if it needs to be replaced.

Sore Teeth/Discomfort with Orthodontic Treatment

Immediately after your braces are placed, and sometimes after you have an adjustment appointment, your teeth and mouth will feel a bit sore. To alleviate the pain, you may take acetaminophen or other non-aspirin pain relievers while you adjust to your new braces. Gargling lukewarm saltwater (one teaspoon of salt dissolved in eight ounces of water) can also help. A warm washcloth or a heating pad may also reduce the discomfort in your jaws.

Wire Irritations

If a wire is irritating you, try moving the wire away from the irritated area with a cotton swab or eraser. If the wire will not move, cover the end of it with a small piece of cotton or a small amount of wax. If the wire is still causing pain, you can cut it with home nail clippers or scissors that have been washed and sterilized in alcohol.

Loose Bracket

If your bracket is loose, call our office to schedule an appointment to see if it needs to be replaced. If you have a situation where you must cut the wire or slide a bracket off the wire, you may use home nail clippers that have been washed and sterilized in alcohol. 

Loose Wire

If you have a loose wire, try putting the wire back in place using tweezers that have been washed and sterilized in alcohol. If that does not work, try putting wax over the wire where it is poking you. If you have a situation where you must cut the wire, you may use fingernail clippers that have been washed and sterilized in alcohol. Cut the wire behind the last bracket in which it is secured.

Headgear Doesn't Fit

If your headgear is causing pain, it's usually because it isn't being worn for a long enough time. It’s important to adhere to your orthodontist's instructions and wear your headgear for the instructed amount of hours each day. If the facebow is bent, please call us for an appointment. Please do not try to adjust it yourself.


If you are still unsure about your orthodontic emergency and need further assistance, don’t hesitate to give us a call with questions. By keeping up with good oral hygiene, wearing mouth guards during sports activities, and other preventive measures, we can do our best to keep the emergencies away. We are here for you and we want to make sure your treatment plan goes as smoothly as possible.