Orthodontic Emergencies: What to Do

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What causes braces to break? Sometimes they break after eating hard or sticky foods. Other times, they break for no known reason. Not every breakage can be called an emergency. Of course, if you have any concerns, please contact us. Many “emergencies” can wait until your next appointment.

Here are some tips to help you when an apparent emergency arises:

  1. If a bracket comes loose and starts to poke the inside of your mouth, simply roll up a ball of orthodontic wax and place it on the bracket until your next visit. However, if the bracket loosens to the point of hanging off, gently remove it with some sterilized tweezers.
  2. If a wire falls out of place, try pushing it back with something soft like a cotton swab or even the tip of a pencil eraser. You may need to lift it into place with a tweezer. 
  3. If the wire breaks and starts digging into your gums or mouth, use wax and place it over the tip of the wire.
  4. If the wire really starts cutting you and you cannot immediately come into your office, use a small wire cutter or nail clipper to snip the wire, getting as close to the bracket as possible. As always, sterilize any instrument that you use.


If you don’t have orthodontic wax, try sugarless gum as an alternative.

To manage your discomfort, try over-the-counter medications such as Advil, Motrin, or Tylenol. You may also want to put an ointment such as Orajel or Orabase on your gums and insides of your mouth.

If you are in pain and need immediate assistance, please call us anytime.

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