Orthodontic Emergencies

Orthodontic emergencies are rare, but they do happen. Knowing how to navigate these scenarios can help you prepare. Dr. Frances Kray and our team are here to help patients identify and handle some of the most common orthodontic emergencies.


Most orthodontic mishaps – such as broken brackets, loose wires, or soft tissue irritation – aren’t true emergencies. They should, however, be treated in a prompt and timely manner so that your treatment can stay on track.


Note: If you have been involved in a serious accident that has resulted in broken or knocked-out teeth, please go to your nearest emergency room or call Dr. Kray at the number listed on our office answering machine. She will give you further instructions.

Orthodontic Emergencies

Orthodontic emergencies are rare, but they do happen. Knowing how to navigate these scenarios can help you prepare. Dr. Frances Kray and our team are here to help patients identify and handle some of the most common orthodontic emergencies.


Most orthodontic mishaps – such as broken brackets, loose wires, or soft tissue irritation – aren’t true emergencies. They should, however, be treated in a prompt and timely manner so that your treatment can stay on track.


Note: If you have been involved in a serious accident that has resulted in broken or knocked-out teeth, please go to your nearest emergency room or call Dr. Kray at the number listed on our office answering machine. She will give you further instructions.

What constitutes an orthodontic emergency?

There are only a couple of scenarios that indicate a true orthodontic emergency. First, if you are in severe pain that cannot be alleviated with over-the-counter pain medication, you should call your orthodontist immediately. Secondly, if you have a broken component that you cannot temporarily cover or fix it yourself, inform our team right away.


General soreness is normal and can typically be managed with acetaminophen. We can also show you how to address orthodontic emergencies temporarily until you can make it to our office. We’ll explore these scenarios in more detail below.

What constitutes an orthodontic emergency?

There are only a couple of scenarios that indicate a true orthodontic emergency. First, if you are in severe pain that cannot be alleviated with over-the-counter pain medication, you should call your orthodontist immediately. Secondly, if you have a broken component that you cannot temporarily cover or fix it yourself, inform our team right away.


General soreness is normal and can typically be managed with acetaminophen. We can also show you how to address orthodontic emergencies temporarily until you can make it to our office. We’ll explore these scenarios in more detail below.

Common Orthodontic Emergencies and How to Handle Them

From loose brackets to broken wires, our team can demonstrate how to address orthodontic emergencies should they arise. Here are a few of the most common:

Loose Brackets, Bands, or Wires

If a component has become loose but is still attached, carefully reposition it and cover it with orthodontic wax. If a band, bracket, or wire has come off, save it and bring it with you to your next visit. Cover any rough areas with orthodontic wax to protect your oral soft tissues.

Protruding Wire

Sometimes the end of an archwire may become loose and irritate the lips or cheeks. Should this occur, use a pencil eraser or a Q-tip to gently push the wire back into place. Then, cover it with orthodontic wax until you can make it to our office.

Loose Ligatures

Tiny wires or rubber bands, called ligatures, are used to secure the archwire to the brackets. If a ligature comes off, you can attempt to move it back with sterile tweezers. Otherwise, simply bend it using a Q-tip, then cover it with wax to avoid irritation.

Food between the Teeth

Food can easily become stuck between the teeth and cause discomfort. When wearing braces, it can be difficult to clean the teeth properly. Should food become stuck in your braces, use a floss threader or interproximal brush to remove it. Tying a small knot in the dental floss can also help dislodge food and debris.

Soft Tissue Irritation

Individuals who wear braces often experience irritation of the lips, cheeks, and tongue. This often occurs when the braces are first placed. Orthodontic wax can go a long way in protecting the oral soft tissues and maintaining your comfort.

Common Orthodontic Emergencies and How to Handle Them

From loose brackets to broken wires, our team can demonstrate how to address orthodontic emergencies should they arise. Here are a few of the most common:

Loose Brackets, Bands, or Wires

If a component has become loose but is still attached, carefully reposition it and cover it with orthodontic wax. If a band, bracket, or wire has come off, save it and bring it with you to your next visit. Cover any rough areas with orthodontic wax to protect your oral soft tissues.

Protruding Wire

Sometimes the end of an archwire may become loose and irritate the lips or cheeks. Should this occur, use a pencil eraser or a Q-tip to gently push the wire back into place. Then, cover it with orthodontic wax until you can make it to our office.

Loose Ligatures

Tiny wires or rubber bands, called ligatures, are used to secure the archwire to the brackets. If a ligature comes off, you can attempt to move it back with sterile tweezers. Otherwise, simply bend it using a Q-tip, then cover it with wax to avoid irritation.

Food between the Teeth

Food can easily become stuck between the teeth and cause discomfort. When wearing braces, it can be difficult to clean the teeth properly. Should food become stuck in your braces, use a floss threader or interproximal brush to remove it. Tying a small knot in the dental floss can also help dislodge food and debris.

Soft Tissue Irritation

Individuals who wear braces often experience irritation of the lips, cheeks, and tongue. This often occurs when the braces are first placed. Orthodontic wax can go a long way in protecting the oral soft tissues and maintaining your comfort.

Contact us for more information.

If you have any questions or concerns while undergoing orthodontic treatment, reach out to our team. We have an assistant on call every weekend at (540) 333-2015.

 

To reach us during normal business hours, call (540) 433-8814 or contact us online.

Contact us for more information.

If you have any questions or concerns while undergoing orthodontic treatment, reach out to our team. We have an assistant on call every weekend at (540) 333-2015.

 

To reach us during normal business hours, call (540) 433-8814.