Tips for Dealing with Orthodontic Emergencies

By August 22, 2016 July 7th, 2017 Blog, FAQ's, Maintenance

orthodontic emergenciesTrue orthodontic emergencies are very rare. However, occasionally an emergency situation will arise, and it may be necessary to schedule an emergency visit to the orthodontist. If you have a problem that you’re unable to take care of on your own, call us right away. Keep reading for helpful info on the most common orthodontic problems that may come up—and how to deal with them.

Pain from Braces: Is It Normal or an Emergency?

It is completely normal to experience some pain or soreness from braces, especially in the first 3 to 5 days after getting your braces on. You may also experience brief periods of soreness, irritation, or tenderness following routine orthodontic adjustments. This type of pain is usually minor and can be managed with home remedies and/or Tylenol or Ibuprofen. Very rarely does it qualify as an orthodontic emergency.

Other Common Orthodontic Emergencies

Here’s a list of other common issues that may come up during your orthodontic treatment, as well as tips on what to do if you experience them.

  • Loose or missing brackets. If a bracket has come loose, it may move side to side or spin on the wire. Call us the next business day to determine whether or not you need to be seen before your next appointment. If it’s still attached to the wire, leave it in place and put wax on it.
  • Protruding wires. Use a Q-tip or pencil eraser to push the wire so that it is flat against the tooth. If you are unable to move the wire into a comfortable position, cover it with relief wax until your next visit.
  • Broken elastics. Please inform us if you see any elastics that are broken or missing. Contact us during the next business day to find out if you need to come in before your next scheduled visit.
  • Dislodged separators. If you have a separator in, and it falls out more than 1 day before your appointment, please call us during the next business day to have it replaced.
  • Lost retainers. If retainers are lost or missing, call the office immediately to schedule two appointments—one for an impression, and then another to insert your new retainers.

Remember: If you have a damaged orthodontic appliance and you put off getting it fixed, this can lead to disruptions in treatment and extended time in braces.

Check out our previous post for a list of several helpful tips on how to reduce pain from braces. If you’re especially concerned about keeping your pain to a minimum (and speeding up your time in braces), ask us about AcceleDent®.

Have questions about how to deal with orthodontic emergencies? Contact us! Call our office at 636.825.1000 or email We’re here to help.