emergency care

Although there are very few true orthodontic emergencies, you may notice during treatment that you have loose or broken brackets or that the orthodontic wires have shifted and are irritating your lips or cheeks. Patients are encouraged to contact our office during working hours for all emergencies – we can schedule you sooner than your next appointment for a repair. If you already have an appointment coming up but have a loose bracket, we ask that you still call ahead of time to let us know so that we can set up the adjustment appointment properly.


You might be surprised to learn that you may be able to solve many problems yourself temporarily until you can get to our office:


•Loose bracket – call the office during business hours to schedule an appointment to repair the bracket. If the bracket is still attached to the wire, leave it in place and cover it with wax as needed for comfort.


•Broken or poking wire – if the broken wire can be removed easily, remove the broken piece. If the wire still pokes, try to put wax on the part that’s sticking out. If you’re out of wax, you can chew some sugarless gum and stick it there.


•Shifted wire – if a wire slips out of the back tube, replace it into the tube or under the tube hook with clean tweezers. If you cannot put the wire into a comfortable position, and covering the end with wax doesn’t help, as a last resort use a small fingernail clipper (sterilized with alcohol) to clip the wire behind the last tooth it’s attached to. If the end of the wire is still sharp after clipping, place wax on it.


•Broken Appliance – if your appliance (such as an expander) comes loose and you can remove it all the way from your mouth, put it in a plastic bag or envelope and call to schedule an appointment to replace it.


•Lost Separator – call our office to see if it needs to be replaced.


•Lost Retainers – please call our office as soon as you lose your retainers, as even short periods without proper retainer wear may result in undesired tooth movement.


•Broken Fixed Retainer – if your bonded retainer breaks off one or more teeth, continue wearing the clear retainer over it to stop the wire from poking your tongue and to prevent your teeth from shifting until you are able to come to the office for a repair.


After alleviating your discomfort, it is still important to call our office once we’re open to schedule a time to completely repair the problem. Allowing your appliance to remain damaged for an extended period of time may result in disruptions to your treatment plan.