Emergency Care/First Aid

American Association of Orthodontists – Handling Orthodontic Emergencies

This page is meant to inform and help get you out of whatever pain you may be in…but you must always call in the case of an emergency. If you wait until your next appointment to tell us what's wrong, the appointment type and duration may not be adequate for what you need, and we may have to reschedule you then to address the issue so as not to disrupt the properly scheduled appointments of others.

Loose Brackets or Loose Bands

Call our office immediately for advice if a bracket, band, or wire is loosened. The bracket may need to be re-fitted as soon as possible. You may have a situation that requires cutting a wire or sliding a bracket off a wire at night or over the weekend. If you need to cut a wire in case of emergency, you may use fingernail clippers that have been washed and sterilized in alcohol. Please call our office the next business day, so that we may schedule an appointment for you.

Wire Irritations

Sometimes discomfort caused by a wire on your braces can be resolved by moving the wire away from the irritated area with a cotton swab or eraser. If the wire will not move, try covering the end of it with a small piece of cotton or a small amount of wax. (How to use wax video.) If the wire is painful, you can cut it with nail clippers or scissors that have been washed and sterilized in alcohol. If you cannot resolve the wire irritation, call our office for an appointment.

Lost Separators

Most patients lose a separator during their treatment. Do not worry about losing a separator, but call our office to see if it needs to be replaced.

Discomfort with Orthodontic Treatment

During the first week after your braces are in place and routine adjustments are complete, you will likely feel some pain, soreness or discomfort. You may take ibuprofen and/or acetaminophen or other non-aspirin pain relievers while you adjust to your new braces. A warm wash cloth or heating pad may reduce the soreness in your jaws.