Frequently Asked Questions About Orthodontics

Orthodontic emergencies are rare but if you experience discomfort call our office to schedule an appointment.

Emergency Care

True orthodontic emergencies are rare, but if you experience severe pain or have a painful appliance you should call our office to schedule an appointment. You might be surprised to learn that you may be able to solve many problems yourself temporarily. Outlined below are some common issues and what you should do in the event that they occur.

After alleviating your discomfort, it is very important that you still call our office as soon as possible to schedule a time to repair the problem. Allowing your appliance to remain damaged for an extended period of time may result in disruptions and altered results to your treatment plan.


General Soreness

When you first get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. Below are some tips on how to adjust to life with braces:

  • Stick to a soft diet until your teeth do not hurt to chew.
  • The lips, cheeks, and tongue may become irritated for one to two weeks as they learn a new posture and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can put wax on the braces to lessen irritation.
  • Irritated gums and other sore spots can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a warm salt-water mouthwash made by dissolving one teaspoonful of salt in eight ounces of warm water.
  • If sores develop on the inside of your mouth place Orabase® oral pain reliever on the affected area to help relieve discomfort; Orabase® can be found in a pharmacy.
  • If the tenderness is severe, take Acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain.

Headgear Discomfort

Sometimes discomfort can occur if headgear is not worn as instructed. The headgear should hurt less the more it's worn, so be sure you get in the prescribed number of hours. If the facebow (metal piece) is bent, please call our office for assistance.


Loose Appliances

If your appliance becomes loose call the office to see if you should be scheduled for an appointment.


Loose Bracket

If your bracket or band is still attached to the wire, you should leave it in place and put wax on it to alleviate discomfort. If the bracket or band can be removed easily, place it in a plastic bag or envelope and save it. Call our office to schedule an appointment and bring the piece with you for repair.


Poking Wire

If a wire is poking you, use a pencil eraser to push it down or place orthodontic wax on it to prevent irritation.


Loose Wire

If the wire has slid to one side, you can pull it back to the other side and place it back in the tube on the back tooth using a pair of tweezers or needle-nosed pliers and cover the end with orthodontic wax. If a coloured o-ring is missing you can tie a piece of floss around the bracket to prevent movement. If you cannot put the wire into a comfortable position, and covering the end with wax doesn't help, as a last resort use a small fingernail clipper to clip the wire behind the last tooth to which it is securely fastened. If the end of the wire is still sharp place wax on it. Call us to schedule an appointment to resolve the issue.