Emergency Care

Do orthodontic emergencies happen often?

This is a question our patients often have for us when they get their appliance placed. Happily, the answer is no. Actual orthodontic emergencies are incredibly rare and usually the result of significant injury or trauma. What patients tend to think about as emergencies are actually small mishaps that are simply par for the course during orthodontic treatment. Below, we will go over what situations you can anticipate and how you can cope with them.

General Soreness

Braces and other appliances are designed to place pressure on the teeth, palate, or even jaw bone. As a result, soreness will occur. Luckily, it does not last. Initial soreness lasts about five days and returns for roughly one day after each adjustment.

Should you come see us? No. Instead, eat soft foods, use salt-water rinses, and take an Advil or Tylenol if needed.

Cheek and Lip Irritation

Because you will have metal pieces in your mouth that stick out from your teeth, the soft tissues of the mouth will naturally become irritated. This is normal and will go away once your mouth adjusts to the presence of your appliance.

Should you come see us? Not likely. All you should need to do is cover the offending spot on your appliance with dental wax for as long as it bothers you.

Headgear Hurts

Some patients wearing headgear complain that it hurts them. Much like braces, this is expected in the beginning. The only way to make this pain go away is by wearing the headgear until you adjust. As such, you need to make certain you are wearing it as directed.

Should you come see us? Unless the facebow is bent, all there is to do is keep wearing it and adjust to its presence.

Poking Wire

Sometimes the wires in your braces will be too long for your comfort and end up poking you. When this happens, you can clip the wire to right in front of the last place on your teeth where it is tethered. You can also place dental wax on it.

Should you come see us? If you are unable to clip the wire, schedule an appointment.

Loose Brackets, Bands, and Wires

Your mouth moves a lot, so things will come loose. When they do, you can use dental wax to hold them in place if possible to stop irritation. And do not panic—this is expected.


Should you come see us? Yes. We need to get the item properly in place for treatment to be effective, so give us a call.