When undergoing orthodontic care such as wearing braces or other orthodontic appliances, you can sometimes encounter orthodontic emergencies. These situations are quite rare, however, it’s important that you contact your orthodontist if you are experiencing severe pain or issue associated with your appliance. Below we share some insightful patient information so you can manage any orthodontic emergencies that may arise.

Temporarily Relieve Pain or Discomfort Before Seeing Your Orthodontist

Depending on your orthodontic pain or concern, there are ways to temporarily ease the pain or discomfort you may be experiencing before making it in to see your orthodontist.

  • If a piece of your orthodontic appliance has come loose, you can keep it in a container or bag until your next appointment.
  • If you feel that your braces are poking the inside of your mouth, you can put a piece of wax on the wire that may be out of place. Make sure to dry the area first with a piece of gauze to help the wax stay.
  • If you’ve noticed that a wire has slid out of place, you can pull it back into place with tweezers or needle-nose pliers.

If you have tried any of the above points to alleviate your orthodontic discomfort, and are still in significant pain, we highly recommend that you call your orthodontist and schedule an appointment to look at what may be causing pain or discomfort. The team at Foley Wilde Orthodontics will review your appliance and ensure that any damage that may be present does not disrupt treatment or cause any additional pain.

Treating Orthodontic Pain & Discomfort

There are a few common situations where you may experience discomfort or pain associated with your orthodontic appliances. Here are the most common situations, and how you can treat them at home before seeing your orthodontist.


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general soreness

General Soreness Caused by Braces

When you initially get your braces put on, you will likely feel some initial discomfort and soreness in your mouth. Your teeth will feel tender and sensitive to biting pressure for roughly three to five days. In this time, you should follow a diet of soft foods so you don’t further irritate your teeth when chewing.

If you are experiencing severe pain, you can also take Acetaminophen (Tylenol), or any medication typically used to treat headaches such as Aspirin, Ibuprofen (Motrin and Advil) or Naproxen Sodium (Anaprox and Naprosyn). Be aware, however, Naprosyn Sodium has been proven to slow down the movement of teeth, so it’s best to use as little as possible while undergoing orthodontic treatment.

loose appliance

Irritated Gums Caused by Braces

It’s common to experience sore gums when undergoing orthodontic treatment. To treat discomfort caused by sensitive gums, consider any of the following:

  • Dissolve a teaspoon of salt into eight ounces of warm water and swish in your mouth.
  • Healthy Gums Rinse by The Natural Dentist
  • Orabase or Oragel, a pain-relieving gel which can be found at your local pharmacy

Orthodontic Headgear Emergency Care - Foley Wilde Orthodontics

Pain in Lips, Cheeks and Tongue

It’s common to experience pain and discomfort in your teeth, cheeks and tongue shortly after having your braces put on. This is caused by your mouth becoming accustomed to the new surfaces on your teeth. Placing wax on parts of your braces can help, as your tongue will be able to slide over the new appliance.

loose appliance

Loose Orthodontic Appliances

If you notice that your orthodontic appliance (such as removable retainers) is poking you, place some orthodontic wax on the offending part until you can make it in to see your orthodontist.

loose bracket

Loose bracket

If one of the brackets on your braces has come loose, and the bracket is still attached to the wire, be sure to leave it in place and place some wax on the end to secure the bracket and ease discomfort. If you can easily remove the loose bracket or band, remove it and keep in a safe container or envelope until your next visit to the orthodontist.

loose wire

Loose wire

If you notice a loose wire on your braces, try and place your wire back into place using needle-nose pliers or tweezers. You can also try and use a piece of floss to tie the wire and keep it in place. Do this by tying a piece of floss around the bracket in place of the missing o-ring. If you aren’t able to position the wire into a comfortable position, or if placing wax on the end is not helping, you can use a small nail clipper to clip the wire behind the very last tooth that it is fastened to. Be sure to place wax on the end of the wire if it is still sharp.

poking wire

Pocking Braces Wire

To easily reposition a wire tie from your braces that may be poking inside your mouth, you can use the end of a pencil and use the eraser to push the poking wire down into place. Place some wax on the wire to avoid discomfort in your mouth until you can see your orthodontist.

These are just a few ways to resolve orthodontic emergencies at home, before you are able to see your orthodontic professional. As mentioned, it’s important to contact your orthodontist if you are experiencing severe pain and discomfort, or if you have applied any of the above measures. That way, you can ensure that there is no compromising of your orthodontic plan. For more information on how to handle any orthodontic emergencies, contact the team at Foley Wilde Orthodontics.