Genuine orthodontic emergencies are uncommon, but when they do arise, we are here to help. As a general guideline, you should contact our office if you are in significant pain or have a painful appliance issue that you are unable to resolve on your own. We’ll be able to set up an appointment to fix the issue.

You may be surprised to find that you can fix many difficulties on your own until you can go through our office. If you can remove a loose piece, place it in a plastic bag or envelope and bring it with you to your next visit. If your braces are poking you, apply soft wax on the protruding piece. If the wire has slipped to one side, use needle-nose pliers to draw it back to the other side and replace it in the tube on the back tooth.

After you have relieved your pain, it is critical that you contact our office as soon as possible to arrange a time to correct the issue. Allowing your appliance to be damaged for a lengthy period of time may cause problems with your treatment regimen.

General soreness

When you first put on your braces, you may have overall discomfort in your mouth, and your teeth may be sensitive to biting forces for three to five days. Stick to a soft diet until chewing does not bother your teeth. Rinsing your mouth with a warm salt-water mouthwash could help alleviate irritated gums and other uncomfortable places. Rinse your mouth aggressively with one teaspoon of salt dissolved in eight ounces of warm water. If the discomfort is severe, try acetaminophen (Tylenol) or whichever pain reliever you regularly use. Because aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), and naproxen sodium (Naprosyn, Anaprox) actually decrease tooth movement, they should not be used regularly when wearing braces.

For one to two weeks, the lips, cheeks, and tongue could feel sore as they adjust to their new posture and grow acclimated to the braces’ surface. You can mitigate this by applying wax on the braces. We’ll demonstrate how!


Sometimes not wearing the headgear as your orthodontist tells you can cause pain. Please follow the instructions given to you by your orthodontist. If the facebow (a metal piece) is bent, please call our office for help. The headgear should get less painful the more you wear it, so make sure you wear it for the correct number of hours.


Loose appliance

If your appliance is poking you, place wax on the offending part.




Loose bracket

If your bracket or band is still attached to the wire, you should leave it in place and put wax on it if needed for comfort. If the bracket or band can be removed easily, place it in an envelope and save it to bring to your next appointment.



Loose wire

If you can, try to put your wire back where it was. Use a piece of thread to tie the wire in place: tie it around the bracket in its place. To cut the wire, use a small nail clipper to cut it behind the last tooth to which it’s been attached. If the end of the wire is still very sharp, put wax on it.



Poking wire

Push the protruding wire down with a pencil eraser or put wax on it to stop it from poking.