Emergency Care - loose brackets and more

True orthodontic emergencies are rare, but when they occur, we're here for you.  When you experience severe discomfort or have a painful appliance problem you can’t take care of yourself, call the office to schedule an appointment to resolve the problem. If it's after hours and not urgent, you can leave a message. Or, if you do need to connect with Dr. Willes, simply follow the instructions provided in the voicemail message.

That said, you might be surprised to learn that you may be able to solve many problems yourself temporarily until you can get to our office. If you have 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, and slide it back into the tube on the back brace.

After alleviating your discomfort, it is vital 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 of time may result in disruptions to your treatment plan, and even cause a delay in getting your braces off. So call as soon as you realize you have anything broken.

One cool fact about braces and traumatic injury to the mouth is that wearing braces can often save your smile! Although brackets abraiding against soft tissue in an accident can cause discomfort, many times Dr. Willes has seen teeth being held in place by the braces and wires after having a patient take a baseball to the mouth or fall down stairs or crash on a scooter. Braces will save your smile much more often than they would cause any lasting damage. (In case you were wondering, we're not counting a poking wire as a traumatic facial injury.)

Ah, but another fun fact about those occasional poking wires is that they are often a good thing: they may be annoying or irritating, but they can be a sign that your teeth are moving. As your teeth shift, the active wires also shift around, and begin to protrude from the back of your last brace. So although we're always ready to schedule a comfort appointment to clip the offending wire, we encourage you to also recognize it as an indication of progress!


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. 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. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in eight ounces of warm water, and rinse your mouth vigorously. An alternative (better tasting) mouthwash is the Healthy Gums Rinse by The Natural Dentist. Placing Orabase on the affected area may also help relieve discomfort; Orabase can be found in a pharmacy.

If the tenderness is severe, take Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain. On the other hand, aspirin, Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), and Naproxen Sodium (Naprosyn, Anaprox) actually slow tooth movement, so it is not advisable to use them frequently while wearing braces.

The lips, cheeks, and tongue may become irritated for one to two weeks as they learn a new posture and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can put wax on the braces to lessen this. We’ll show you how!


Loose appliance

If your appliance is poking you, place wax on the offending part.


Loose bracket

If your bracket or band is still attached to the wire, you should leave it in place and put wax on it if needed for comfort. If the bracket or band can be removed easily, place it in an envelope and save it to bring to your next appointment.


Loose wire

Using a pair of tweezers or needle-nosed pliers, try to put your wire back into place. It is okay to use a piece of floss to tie the wire into place: simply tie the floss around the bracket in place of the missing colored o-ring.

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 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

Using a pencil eraser, push the poking wire down or place wax on it so it is no longer poking.

740 Oak Avenue, Suite A
Carlsbad, CA 92008
(760) 434-5031
8:00am to 5:00pm

8:00am to 5:00pm

8:00am to 5:00pm

8:00am to 5:00pm