Orthodontic Emergencies

If your braces are causing extreme pain or if something breaks, please call our office. In most cases, we can help you address these issues over the telephone. If your concern requires an office visit, we will gladly schedule an appointment for you. Even if you have a regular appointment scheduled, call ahead of time to let us know you may need a repair.

Common Orthodontic Problems & Solutions:
  • Broken or Poking Wire: When you first get your braces on, the smaller, lighter wires can slide around in the brackets and end up poking your cheek. Please call us if this happens. You can temporarily fix a loose wire by using the back of a spoon or the eraser end of a clean pencil to carefully and gently push the wire back into place. If the loose wire is causing irritation to your lips or cheeks, put wax over the broken wire until you can come in for an appointment.
  • Broken or Loose Bands: These can irritate your cheek. Please call our office to schedule an appointment and we will re-cement it or replace it.
  • Broken Bracket: The bracket will slide around on the wire a little, but this usually does not cause pain. Please call to schedule an appointment and we will repair it.
  • Broken Tie or Chain: Again, these do not cause pain, but can delay the length of your treatment. Please call to schedule an appointment so we can repair it.
  • Tooth Discomfort: It’s normal to have some discomfort when your braces are adjusted. Over the counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen are effective. In addition, you can rinse with warm salt water and eat softer foods for a couple of days after the adjustment.
  • Irritation of Cheeks or Lips: A small amount of dental wax makes an excellent buffer between the braces and cheeks, lips, and tongue. Simply pinch off a small piece wax and roll it into a ball. Flatten the ball and place it completely over the irritating area. Drying the area first can help the wax stick better.
  • Bent Headgear or Other Removable Appliance: Stop wearing the appliance until it can be adjusted in our office.
  • Mouth sores: You can gain relief by using a small amount of topical anesthetic such as Orabase or Ora-Gel.
IMPORTANT: If any piece of your appliance comes off, always save it in an envelope or a baggie and bring it with you when you come in for your appointment.
Taking Care of Your Braces & Appliances
Damaged braces and appliances can increase the length of your treatment process, so be sure to take care of them. Your teeth and jaw can only move into their correct positions if you consistently wear the rubber bands, headgear, retainers or other appliances that have been prescribed by Dr. Chapman.
Facial Injuries While Wearing Braces
If you experience a blow to the face that causes cuts or lacerations to the cheek or breaks an appliance, immediately apply ice to the area and call our office. If it’s after hours, a recording will give you information on how to handle a ‘true’ orthodontic emergency. You can also temporarily relieve discomfort by rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater.
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