Orthodontic Emergency Care

Occasionally patients may experience an injury to the mouth during orthodontic treatment. Dental emergencies while wearing braces or other orthodontic appliances generally fall into two categories.

Emergencies Related to Orthodontic Appliances

Appliances might be broken or bent while you’re in our orthodontic care. If there are any disturbances such as loose bands or brackets, or broken or poking wires, please call our office for an appointment during patient hours. In the meantime, here are some helpful tips to remedy some of the problems you may encounter until our office can see you.

  • If a tie wire is irritating your mouth, cover it with wax or tuck it under the arch wire with a blunt object like a pencil eraser or Q-tip.
  • A loose band or bracket can generally be left in place until your next scheduled appointment. It’s very important to call Stellar Family Orthodontics immediately when you notice a loose band or bracket, and we’ll let you know the best course of action or will reserve a time for you so we can reattach the loose appliance.
  • If you have a broken or poking archwire, try bending it in with a pencil eraser or cutting it with nail clippers. Call our office to schedule an appointment if you are unable to solve the issue.

Direct Injuries to the Mouth and Teeth

Following a direct injury to your mouth or teeth, whether undergoing orthodontic care or not, immediately ice the injured area and call us as soon as possible. Usually an x-ray of the involved tooth or teeth is needed to determine the extent of injury. If a tooth has been displaced, knocked out, or fractured, it is best to contact Stellar Kids Dentistry or your normal family dentist as soon as possible following the injury. If the appliances are dislodged or displaced, we will need to replace or adjust the appliances as soon as possible after the primary injury has been taken care of.

After Office Hours

If an orthodontic emergency arises where the patient is in pain after hours, please contact our office emergency line. Our doctors are on call 24 hours a day to serve our patients.

Emergency FAQs

What to do if something needs immediate attention?
Call our office as soon as possible if you break or lose any of your appliances. Even if you have a regular appointment scheduled, call us immediately to notify us if you need an appliance repaired.
What if I have a loose bracket or bands?
Call our office immediately for advice if a bracket or wire is loosened. The bracket may need to be re-bonded as soon as possible. You might have a situation that requires cutting a wire or sliding a bracket off a wire at night or over the weekend. If you need to cut a wire as a last resort, you may use fingernail clippers that have been washed and sterilized in alcohol. Please call our office the next business day, so that we may schedule an appointment for you.
What if my wire is irritating or cutting my cheek?
Sometimes discomfort caused by a wire on your braces can be resolved by moving the wire away from the irritated area with a cotton swab or eraser. If the wire will not move, try covering the end of it with a small piece of orthodontic wax. If the wire is painful, you can cut it with nail clippers or scissors that have been washed and sterilized in alcohol. If you cannot resolve the wire irritation, call our office for an appointment.
What if I lose a separator?
Most patients lose a separator prior to the start of treatment. The separator is intended to create space around your molar in order for the band to fit well. As the space opens up, the separator becomes loose and may fall out. Do not worry about losing a separator, but please call our office to see if it needs to be replaced.
What do I do about aches and discomfort with orthodontic treatment?
During the first week after your braces are in place and when routine adjustments are complete, you will likely feel some discomfort or tenderness. You may take ibuprofen or acetaminophen pain relievers (i.e., Advil or Tylenol) while you adjust to your new braces. Use of the orthodontic wax may also be necessary until your cheeks are used to the braces.