True orthodontic emergencies are rare, but when they occur we are available to you. As a general rule, you should call our office when you experience severe pain or have a painful appliance problem you can’t take care of yourself. We’ll be able to schedule an appointment to resolve the problem.

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 there is a loose piece 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 your cheeks or gums, 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, replacing it in the tube on the back tooth.

After alleviating your discomfort, it is still very important to 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 progress.

Common Minor Orthodontic Issues

General Soreness

When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth, and your teeth may feel tender when eating. Stick to a soft diet until it no longer hurts to chew.

Irritated gums and other sore spots can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater. Dissolve one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of warm water, rinse your mouth vigorously, then spit it out.

Placing Orabase on the affected area may also help relieve discomfort. You can find this product online or at your local pharmacy. If the tenderness is severe, take whatever nonprescription pain medicine you normally take for a headache or similar pain. If intense pain lasts longer than a day or two, please contact our office.

The lips, cheeks, and tongue may be irritated for a week or two as they learn a new posture and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. We’ll show you how to put wax on the braces to lessen this at your first appointment.


Sometimes discomfort is caused by not wearing the headgear as instructed by your orthodontist. Please refer to the instructions we provided you at your appointment. If the facebow (metal piece) is bent, please call our office for assistance. The headgear should hurt less the more it’s worn, so be sure you get in the prescribed number of hours.

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. 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, put wax on it until you can come to our office and get it repaired.

Poking Wire

Using a pencil eraser, push the poking wire down or place wax on it so it stops irritating your mouth until you schedule an appointment.