Orthodontic Emergencies – Helpful Tips

Emergencies (After Hours): 843-352-3466. Please check out the tips and videos below. This will most likely help you through your emergency. If not during regular business hours, and you cannot find a cure below, please call our assistant using our emergency phone number above.

Orthodontic Emergencies

True orthodontic emergencies are not that common. They usually involve a loose brace or band, a poking wire, or a lost color tie. Watch the video above for tips on dealing with all these problems. If you cannot fix the problem after watching the video, please feel free to give us a call at the office and we will help you through the situation.

Spacers – How to Replace


When you get your braces on, you may feel some 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 salt water mouthwash, or by taking the same medicine you would if you had a headache.

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.

To use the wax (in your patient kit)

  • Step 1 – Ball up a small amount of the wax with your fingers
  • Step 2 – Dry off your brace with a paper towel
  • Step 3 – Mash the wax against your bracket to make a small comfort mound.
  • Replace if neccesary. And don’t worry if you happen to swallow this, it’s just wax.

Loosening of Teeth

This is to be expected throughout treatment. Don’t worry! It’s normal. Teeth must slightly loosen first so they can be moved. The teeth will again become rigidly fixed in their new – corrected – positions.

Loose Wire or Band

Don’t be alarmed if a wire or band comes loose, as this is not a huge orthodontic emergency. This happens occasionally. If a wire protrudes and is irritating, use a blunt instrument (the 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 to see if we need to check and repair the appliances. If any piece comes off, save it and bring it with you to the office.

Poking Wire

It is common for wires, as they unravel teeth, to become longer and this may lead to the wire poking you at the back of your braces. Sometimes the wire can snap if you play with your braces or eat hard or sticky foods causing the same issue. If this type of orthodontic emergency happens, use a ball of wax, or clip the wire with a pair of fingernail clippers or wire cutters wiped with alcohol. Give us a call at the office if this occurs to see if we need to see you to replace the wire.


It’s more important than ever to brush and floss regularly when you have braces so the teeth and gums are healthy after orthodontic treatment. Patients who do not keep their teeth clean may require more frequent visits to the dentist for a professional cleaning. Adults who have a history of gum disease should also see a periodontist during orthodontic treatment.


If you play any sports that normally require a mouthguard without braces, we recommend you wear one with braces. Ask us at your next appointment and we will show you what an orthodontic mouthguard looks like. They are available in the office and at most retail stores. They can definitely help prevent many orthodontic emergencies.

Emergency Phone Line

If you still need assistance with your emergency, we have someone that can help you at all times. Please call our emergency phone line below.
Emergencies (After Hours): 843-352-3466