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While orthodontic emergencies are rare, they can occur. Knowing what constitutes an orthodontic emergency, and how to proceed in such a situation, goes a long way in ensuring it's resolved with a minimum of pain and stress.

As a general rule, an emergency appointment may be made when there is

  • severe pain
  • a loose band
  • a broken wire
  • something sticking out that you can't take care of

It's important to know the names of the parts of your appliances. It will help, when you phone the office, to be able to identify what part is broken or out of place.


A small amount of soreness or tenderness is fairly normal when you first get braces. It's also common to feel soreness or tenderness after an adjustment appointment.

If you're experiencing mild soreness, you can try a salt water rinse. Simply dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in 8 ounces of warm water, and rinse your mouth vigorously.

Otherwise, you can try taking Tylonol or any other over-the-counter painkiller that you would take for a headache.

If you are still in a significant amount of pain after trying these options, call our office right away, as there may be some damage to, or problem with, your orthodontic appliances.

Wires & Bands

Don't be alarmed if a wire or band comes loose. This happens occasionally.

If wire protrudes and is irritating, use a blunt instrument (back of spoon or the eraser end of a pencil) and carefully, gently push the irritating wire under the archwire. Simply get it out of the way. If irritation to the lips or mouth continues, place wax or wet cotton on the wire to reduce the annoyance.

Call our office as soon as possible for an appointment to check and repair the appliances. If any piece comes off, save it and bring it with you to the office.

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