Thankfully, the incidence of true orthodontic emergencies is rare, but when they do occur we are always available for you. You might be surprised to learn, however, that you can solve many problems yourself, at least temporarily, and until you are able to call our office and allow us to assess your particular situation.

Poking/Irritating Wires

This can occur on occasion, and if it does it tends to be within the first three to four months of treatment. If a wire protrudes and is irritating, use a blunt instrument (like the eraser end of a pencil) and gently push the irritating wire out of the way. Alternatively, wax may be placed over any sharp or poking wire. If the wire cannot be bent away or covered, and you feel comfortable, simply cut it with a small nail clipper. It is always OK to cut something that is protruding or poking you. We will replace whatever it is you removed at your next visit.

Loose Brackets or Bands

Don’t be alarmed if something comes loose. This happens occasionally. If a bracket or band comes loose, it is not an emergency. All we ask is that you contact our office as soon as possible so that we can assess the situation and advise you accordingly. Many repairs can be taken care of simply by adding time to your next scheduled appointment, if it is not too far in the future. If the loose bracket or band is irritating, and for temporary relief, place a little bit of orthodontic wax on it to cushion the area.


When you get your braces on, and sometimes after certain adjustments, you may feel a general soreness in your mouth. It is very normal for your teeth to be tender to biting pressures for three to five days*. To feel better, you may choose to rinse your mouth with warm salt water. Dissolve 1 teaspoonful of salt in 8 ounces of warm water, and rinse your mouth vigorously for a few minutes. If the tenderness continues to be uncomfortable we recommend that you take whatever you would normally for headaches or similar pains. (But never exceed the dosing outlined on the bottle.) We promise, your mouth will not be sore forever.

You should expect that your lips, cheeks, and tongue might become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to your new braces. The orthodontic wax we give you can be placed on any rough surface until your mouth has gotten accustomed to your new braces. Wax is your 1-stop shop for fixing nearly every type of sore your braces may cause. With orthodontic wax, the trick to remember is that less is more! And, as your mouth becomes more and more used to your braces, your reliance on wax will become less and less.

* In the event that your discomfort lasts longer than three to five days, or your normal dosing of pain medication does not bring relief, please call our office. This might be an indication that there is something more going on.


In the case of any injury involving the face, be sure to check your mouth and the appliances immediately. If teeth are loosened or the appliances are damaged, please contact us or your family dentist immediately. In the mean time, you may be able to relieve discomfort temporarily with orthodontic wax or by rinsing your mouth with warm salt water.