When undergoing orthodontic care such as wearing braces or other orthodontic appliances, you can sometimes encounter orthodontic emergencies. These situations are quite rare, however, it’s important that you contact your orthodontist if you are experiencing severe pain or issue associated with your appliance. Below we share some insightful patient information so you can manage any orthodontic emergencies that may arise including:

  • broken wires
  • loose bands
  • severe oral pain
  • lost spacers
  • allergic reaction to metal appliances

When Should You Seek Emergency Orthodontic Care?

If you are having abnormal pain or discomfort related to your braces or orthodontic appliance it is always best to contact your orthodontist. If the emergency is minor, we will schedule an appointment and provide you with tips to relieve the pain as well as any temporary solutions. If you receive an injury to your jaw or teeth or notice severe swelling of the gums contact you dentist, rather than orthodontist, for appropriate treatment.

Tips to Prevent an Orthodontic Emergency & Relieve Oral Pain

Depending on your orthodontic emergency, there are ways to temporarily ease the pain or discomfort you may be experiencing before making it in to see your orthodontist. Here are some tips to help relieve oral pain and ensure that your treatment is not impacted.

  1. If a piece of your orthodontic appliance has come loose, you can keep it in a container or bag until your next appointment.
  2. If you feel that your braces are poking the inside of your mouth, you can put a piece of wax on the wire that may be out of place. Make sure to dry the area first with a piece of gauze to help the wax stay.
  3. If you’ve noticed that a wire has slid out of place, you can pull it back into place with tweezers or needle-nose pliers.

Temporary Solutions to Treat Orthodontic Pain & Discomfort

There are a few common situations where you may experience discomfort or pain associated with your orthodontic appliances. Here are the most common situations, and how you can treat them at home before seeing your orthodontist.

orthodontist emergency care

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Temporary solutions to treat orthodontic pain and discomfort from Wonder West Orthodontics

General Soreness Caused by Braces

When you initially get your braces put on, you will likely feel some initial discomfort and soreness in your mouth. Your teeth will feel tender and sensitive to biting pressure for roughly three to five days. In this time, you should follow a diet of soft foods so you don’t further irritate your teeth when chewing.

If you are experiencing severe pain, you can also take Acetaminophen (Tylenol), or any medication typically used to treat headaches such as Aspirin, Ibuprofen (Motrin and Advil) or Naproxen Sodium (Anaprox and Naprosyn). Be aware, however, Naprosyn Sodium has been proven to slow down the movement of teeth, so it’s best to use as little as possible while undergoing orthodontic treatment.

1 teaspoon of salt mixed with 8 ounces of water to treat gum discomfort during orthodontic emergency treated by Wonder West Orthodontics

Irritated Gums Caused by Braces

It’s common to experience sore gums when undergoing orthodontic treatment. To treat discomfort caused by sensitive gums, consider any of the following:

  • Dissolve a teaspoon of salt into eight ounces of warm water and swish in your mouth.
  • Healthy Gums Rinse by The Natural Dentist
  • Orabase or Oragel, a pain-relieving gel which can be found at your local pharmacy

Pain in lips, cheeks and tongues caused by an orthodontic appliance treated by Foley Orthodontics

Pain in Lips, Cheeks and Tongue

It’s common to experience pain and discomfort in your teeth, cheeks and tongue shortly after having your braces put on. This is caused by your mouth becoming accustomed to the new surfaces on your teeth. Placing wax on parts of your braces can help, as your tongue will be able to slide over the new appliance.

Loose orthodontic appliance covered with orthodontic wax to relieve pain as instructed by Wonder West Orthodontics

Loose Orthodontic Appliances

If you notice that your orthodontic appliance (such as removable retainers) is poking you, place some orthodontic wax on the offending part until you can make it in to see your orthodontist.

Loose orthodontic appliance covered with orthodontic wax to relieve pain as instructed by Wonder West Orthodontics

Loose bracket

If one of the brackets on your braces has come loose, and the bracket is still attached to the wire, be sure to leave it in place and place some wax on the end to secure the bracket and ease discomfort. If you can easily remove the loose bracket or band, remove it and keep in a safe container or envelope until your next visit to the orthodontist.

Loose wire on braces placed back into place with tweezers during orthodontic emergency treated by Wonder West Orthodontics

Loose wire

If you notice a loose wire on your braces, try and place your wire back into place using needle-nose pliers or tweezers. You can also try and use a piece of floss to tie the wire and keep it in place. Do this by tying a piece of floss around the bracket in place of the missing o-ring. If you aren’t able to position the wire into a comfortable position, or if placing wax on the end is not helping, you can use a small nail clipper to clip the wire behind the very last tooth that it is fastened to. Be sure to place wax on the end of the wire if it is still sharp.

Repositioning braces wire that is poking into cheek with pencil eraser before emergency orthodontic appointment with Foley Wilde

Braces Wire Poking the Inside of the Mouth

To easily reposition a wire tie from your braces that may be poking inside your mouth, you can use the end of a pencil and use the eraser to push the poking wire down into place. Place some wax on the wire to avoid discomfort in your mouth until you can see your orthodontist.

These are just a few ways to resolve orthodontic emergencies at home, before you are able to see your orthodontic professional. As mentioned, it’s important to contact your orthodontist if you are experiencing severe pain and discomfort, or if you have applied any of the above measures. That way, you can ensure that there is no compromising of your orthodontic plan. For more information on how to handle any orthodontic emergencies, contact the team at Wonder West Orthodontics.

Emergency Care at Wonder West Orthodontics in London, Ontario

If you have tried any of the above points to alleviate your orthodontic discomfort, and are still in significant pain, we highly recommend that you call your orthodontist and schedule an appointment to look at what may be causing pain or discomfort. The team at Wonder West Orthodontics will review your appliance and ensure that any damage that may be present does not disrupt treatment or cause any additional pain.