Emergency Care

True orthodontic emergencies are very rare, but when they do occur we are available for you. As a general rule, you should call the office when you experience unusual discomfort (eg. wire poking into cheek), or when you have a problem with your braces, wires, elastics or appliance. We will schedule an emergency appointment, or provide you with instructions to temporarily resolve the problem until your next visit. Outside of regular office hours, messages left on the answering machine will be checked daily and all calls will be returned as soon as possible.

You might be surprised to learn that you may be able to temporarily solve many problems yourself until we are able to properly address the problem. When working with your devices, it is important to understand what part is broken or out of place. After this, please refer to the videos and pictures below to help you identify what is wrong and how to temporarily resolve the issue. After alleviating your discomfort, it is very important that you call our office as soon as possible to schedule an appointment. Allowing your orthodontic devices to remain damaged for an extended period of time may result in disruptions to your treatment plan.

Poking Wire

Archwires and ligatures can sometimes poke into your lips and gums. Please contact our office if you are experiencing discomfort. The techniques outlined in this video will provide you with some tips to help you manage your discomfort until we are able to properly address the issue.

Loose Band

A loose band can damage your teeth and gums, and affect the outcome of your treatment. Please contact our office as soon as possible to report a loose band. If your band is still attached to the wire, you should leave it in place. If the wire comes out entirely and the band has fallen off, wrap the band in a tissue and bring it to your next appointment. lf the exposed wire is causing discomfort, please refer to the section entitled 'Poking Wire' for tips on how to minimize the irritation until we can properly address the issue.

Loose Bracket

A broken bracket will affect the outcome of your treatment. Please contact the office as soon as possible to report a broken bracket.

How to Apply Wax

Orthodontic wax is used to prevent and treat irritation between your braces and your lips, gums and cheeks. Please keep wax on the irritated parts until you are out of discomfort. Replace wax if it flakes away or loses its stick.

Diagram for re-inserting forsus appliance rod

How to Re-Insert Forsus Appliance Rod

The Forsus appliance will accommodate normal mouth opening for eating and speaking; however, avoid opening your mouth extremely wide, as the lower rods that insert into the spring portion of the appliance may separate. If this happens:
  • Open wide
  • Compress the spring
  • Re-insert the rod back into the spring

If you are unable to re-insert the rod back into the spring, please call our office immediately.

General Soreness

When you start treatment, you may feel general soreness in your mouth, and your teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. This can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a warm saltwater mouthwash. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in 8 ounces of warm water, and rinse your mouth vigorously. Placing Orabase on the affected area may help; this can be found in a pharmacy. If the tenderness is severe, take whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain.

The lips, cheeks and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can put wax on the braces to lessen this.