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Braces Emergencies



Have you ever wondered what to do when braces emergencies happen? 

Types of Orthodontic Emergencies

Orthodontic Emergencies are also known as “Braces Emergencies” are rare but if it happens, the first step is to determine the severity of the problem: Is it an urgent situation that requires immediate attention, or a minor problem that you can take care of yourself, temporarily, until you can come into our office?

Major Braces Emergencies

Severe pain or swelling could be a sign of infection or disease, which an orthodontist is the best person to treat. There are only a few major orthodontic emergencies. These include:

  • Trauma or injury to the teeth, face, or mouth
  • Infection or swelling of the gums, mouth, or face
  • Severe, unmanageable discomfort or pain in these areas

Minor Braces Emergencies

Here is a list of things that can become issues during your orthodontic treatment period:

  • Tooth soreness
  • A loose band or bracket
  • Mouth sores
  • Food stuck between your braces
  • Poking archwire
  • Lost elastic

Tooth Soreness and Irritation

When you first start braces treatment, the brackets and wires can irritate your cheeks and lips. It takes a few weeks for your mouth to toughen up and acclimate to your appliance.

Swish a salt water rinse (one teaspoon of salt dissolved in a glass of warm water) around your mouth and then spit it out.

Loose Brackets, Bands, or Wires

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.

Mouth Sores

Sometimes your gums or mouth may be irritated by contact with your braces; in certain cases, this irritation causes small sores or ulcers. While they can be uncomfortable, they are normal and will go away quickly.

Avoid touching them with your fingers. Rinse with warm salt water to aid healing and cover any rubbing areas with wax.

Food Stuck Between Your Braces

This is an easy fix with a piece of dental floss. A small knot tied in the middle of the dental floss will help with the removal of the food. Always remember to be careful not to hurt the gums or damage the braces.

Poking Wires

As teeth start to move, the wire that connects them (archwire) may begin poking near the back of the mouth or irritating the cheeks.

 is an easy fix with a piece of dental floss. A small knot tied in the middle of the dental floss will help with the removal of the food. Always remember to be careful not to hurt the gums or damage the braces.

Broken Retainer

If your retainer breaks, stop wearing it and call your orthodontist immediately. Retainers serve an important purpose in orthodontic treatment, as they keep your smile straight and healthy. Failing to wear your retainer during the timeframe prescribed by your orthodontist can cause your teeth to relapse back into an unhealthy position.

A broken retainer can improperly apply force to your teeth which can result in an incorrect shift, which can cause issues similar to the ones you originally set out to correct with braces.

PretoriaSmile Emergency Kit

PretoriaSmile Orthodontics has put together a braces care kit to carry in case of an emergency. The kit includes a tube of Aloclair (to promote faster healing for any ulcers or sores), Gishy Goo (Stronger than wax to place over braces for comfort) Emergency pamphlets, wax, and a cheek retractor.

PretoriaSmile Emergency Kit

While actual emergencies are rare, our goal is to make orthodontic treatment as comfortable as possible. If you need additional advice, don't hesitate to contact PretoriaSmile!

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