The Concern:

When to us immediately if you are experiencing severe pain or if your orthodontic appliance is broken or is causing pain that you can’t take care of yourself. If you have a problem we can’t help you with over the phone, we’ll then be happy to schedule an appointment during regular office hours or, if necessary, arrange to meet afterhours.

Most of the problems that occur with orthodontic appliances are minor and can be taken care of by you at home to make you more comfortable until you are able to schedule an appointment. Even if you are able to resolve the problem, please call our office as soon as possible to tell us what has occurred. Broken appliances can, if left unrepaired, cause unwanted side effects including delays in treatment.

Depending on the problem, we may want to see you before your next regularly scheduled appointment to repair the problem.

  • General soreness
  • Loose bracket or band
  • Loose wire
  • Poky wire tie
  • Lost or loose colored elastic/chain
  • Loose arch wire end
  • Cheek sores
  • Retainer not fitting
  • Headgear not fitting/bent/broken


True Orthodontic emergencies are rare, but when they happen you can rest assured that we are available to help.

General soreness.

The first few days with braces or aligners you can expect your teeth to be sore to biting and sensitive to hot and cold. You can take whatever over-the-counter pain reliever you normally use. Please follow manufacturer’s instrucions. The lips, cheeks and tongue may also become sore and irritated for one to two weeks as they become accustomed to the surface of the braces. Place wax on the brackets opposite the sore areas to allow the sore areas to heal and toughen.

Loose bracket or band.

If your bracket or band is still attached to the wire, leave it in place and use wax if necessary.

Loose wire.

Sometimes the archwire will come out of the bracket or break between brackets. If this happens, use clean fingers or tweezers to put the wire back into the bracket slot or, as a last resort, use fingernail clippers to cut the wire at side of the last bracket which is still attached or tied to the wire with a colored elastic or wire tie and remove the loose end of the arch wire.

Pokey wire tie.

Carefully push the poking twisted end of the wire tie towards the tooth using a pencil eraser. Wax may then be necessary to alleviate the discomfort.

Lost or loose colored elastic or elastic chain.

The small elastic that holds the archwire into each bracket will sometimes come off the bracket. This is usually not a big problem and can be addressed during regular hours.

Loose arch wire end.

Sometimes the ends of the wire back by the molars can slip out of the small tube on the band or bracket of the molar. Use clean fingers or tweezers to put the wire back into the small square hole. Wax may be necessary to alleviate the discomfort.

Cheek sores.

Cheeks and lips can become sore due to constant rubbing on the braces or wires. Check that all parts of the braces appear to be in order and that no wires are poking out away from the teeth. Wax will likely need to be applied.

Retainer not fitting.

Teeth can shift and retainers might stop fitting if not worn for extended periods (more than a day or two). Retainers might also not fit if they’ve been bent or distorted. If the retainer is not fitting well because of inconsistent wear, try to wear it more regularly if it will reasonably stay on the teeth. Regardless, call us to for an appointment. It is much easier to fix a small relapse problem early on compared to letting the teeth drift further.

Headgear not fitting or is bent/broken.

If the headgear is not worn for an extended period of time or if it becomes bent or broken, it may not fit into the headgear tubes. Improper fit can cause discomfort. If the headgear is bent or broken, discontinue use. If soreness arises due to inconsistent wear and if it still fits normally, wear it more.