Believe it or not, true orthodontic emergencies are rare. However, whether it’s a true emergency or a quick fix, we at Uniquely You Orthodontics are available to help.

You might be surprised to learn that you may be able to solve many braces emergencies and problems yourself temporarily until you can get to our office. If there is a loose piece that you can remove, put it in a plastic bag or envelope and bring it with you to your next appointment. If your braces are poking you, put soft wax on the piece that’s sticking out. If the wire has slid to one side, you can pull it back to the other side with needle-nosed pliers, replacing it with the tube on the back tooth. 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 may result in disruptions to your treatment plan.

However, if you have an issue causing you severe pain that you can’t take care of yourself, you should call our office immediately. We’ll be able to schedule an appointment to resolve the orthodontic emergency and solve your pain.

If you are experiencing any emergency that isn’t causing you severe pain, refer to the below list to see if there is something you can do to mitigate the problem until you can get an appointment. If you have any questions about the advice detailed below, contact us, and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have.

General Soreness

When you 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. There are ways to help mitigate your soreness and pain.

  • Stick to a soft diet until your teeth do not hurt to chew.
  • Irritated gums and other sore spots can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a warm salt-water mouthwash. Make a salt wash by dissolving one teaspoonful of salt in eight ounces of warm water. Once dissolved, rinse your mouth vigorously with the salt wash. Alternatively, you can use a rinse specifically made to help ease gum pain, like the Healthy Gums Rinse by The Natural Dentist.
  • Placing Orabase on the affected area may also help relieve discomfort. This can be found in most pharmacies.
  • In cases of severe tenderness and gum pain, you can take acetaminophen (Tylenol), or whatever you normally take for a headache or similar pain. Other pain medications, like aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and naproxen sodium (Naprosyn, Anaprox) actually slow the tooth movement, so it is not advisable to use them frequently while wearing braces.
  • If the pain and soreness is located in your lips, cheeks or tongue, it could be the result of your mouth learning new postures to accommodate your braces. This may result in irritation and pain as they become accustomed to the surface of your braces. To help, you can put wax on the surfaces of your braces. Simply speak to your orthodontist to learn how to properly use wax and get enough to suit your needs.


Sometimes discomfort is caused by not wearing the headgear as instructed by your orthodontist, or by damage sustained to the headgear itself. If you think you may not be wearing the headgear properly, please refer to the instructions provided by your orthodontist or call them to confirm you are wearing it correctly.

If the facebow (metal piece) is bent, please call our office for assistance and repair. The headgear should hurt less the more it’s worn, so be sure you get in the prescribed number of hours before contacting your orthodontist for support. If the discomfort is severe enough, take an over-the-counter pain reliever as needed.

Loose Appliance

If your appliance is poking you, place wax on the offending part and contact your orthodontist for a readjustment or fix.

Loose Bracket

If a bracket or band is loose, but still attached to the wire, leave it in place. If it is irritating your mouth, place some wax on it as needed for comfort. If the bracket is loose enough to be removed easily, gently remove and place it in an envelope. Make sure to bring it with you to your next appointment so your orthodontist can more easily identify and replace the missing piece.

Loose Wire

If a wire is loose or poking you, then you can use a pair of tweezers or needle-nosed pliers to try and put your wire back into place. It is okay to use a piece of floss to tie the wire into place — all you need to do is tie the floss around the bracket in place of the missing colored O-ring. If you can’t push or tie the piece in place, just put wax around the part of the wire that is irritating your mouth. If you cannot put the wire into a position that is comfortable, 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.

Poking Wire

If a wire is poking you, try to see if it is loose. If so, refer to the instructions above. If the wire is simply poking you, use a pencil eraser or other soft yet firm piece of material to push the wire down into a more comfortable position. If this doesn’t work, place wax over the wire until it no longer pokes you. If the problem persists, contact your orthodontist so they can adjust the wire.

Emergency Help From Uniquely You

No matter the nature of your emergency or inconvenience, Uniquely You Orthodontics can help. Contact us as soon as you have a question or problem you’re worried about. We’ll be happy to help guide you through the process of fixing it yourself or managing your inconvenience or pain until we can fit you in for an appointment. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.