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Living with Braces

Emergency Care

How to handle problems, big and small

When you are wearing braces, you may encounter small discomfort, broken appliances or – rarely – more serious problems. There are strategies you can use at home to address some of the more common problems. If you do have an orthodontic emergency (extreme pain, swelling, bleeding, or an accident), call our office. If you experience a direct injury to the mouth or teeth, ice the area immediately and call your regular dentist. After seeing your dentist, we will need to replace any broken or displaced appliances as soon as possible (depending upon your comfort level).


Many minor problems can be handled at home. Here are common situations that you might encounter and how to take care of them.  

Loose Brackets or Bands

A loose bracket or band can be left in place until your next visit. Do notify us so that we can schedule additional time to repair it. If it is bothersome, cut the wire using a pair of clean nail clippers, and slip the bracket off. Tuck the wire under and bring the bracket to your next appointment.

Poking or Broken Wires

You can bend an irritating wire away from the area with an eraser, the round end of a spoon or a Q-tip. Still poking? Clip it with a pair of clean nail clippers or wire clippers and/or use orthodontic wax on the area of discomfort until you can be seen. 

Wire Out of Tube (on band around tooth)

Reinsert into tube using tweezers.

Missing Color Tie

There is usually no problem with a missing color tie, as long as you have other ties still present. However, you should still call the office to see if you should have it replaced. 

Lost Separators

It is not unusual to lose a separator during treatment. Try to double a piece of floss to see if it slides in/out easily with out catching. If there is space it should be fine till next appointment, but do call our office to see if it needs to be replaced.

Discomfort with Orthodontic Treatment

During the first week after you get your braces, and for several days after routine adjustments, you may feel soreness, discomfort and your teeth may be tender when chewing. Take Tylenol or other non-aspirin pain relievers while you adjust to your new braces. Eating softer foods until the discomfort goes away is a good idea too.

Small Cuts/Sores

You may experience small cuts as the inside of your mouth gets used to braces. You may rinse your mouth with salt water and use orthodontic wax to smooth any part of the appliance causing the irritation.

When to Call the Office

If you make any of the adjustments above, call the office as soon as possible during regular office hours, so that we can schedule time to make repairs. Call even if you have a scheduled appointment, since a repair may take longer than the time allotted for a regular appointment.

If you are unable to alleviate the problem on your own, please call so that we may assist.