Emergency orthodontic care

Emergency Orthodontic Care


In the event of an orthodontic emergency, please review the following information. In some instances, you can temporarily and or even permanently correct a problem without an office visit. If the problem persists, please call our office at (770) 251-4444. 

It is helpful if you can describe the appliance or part of the appliance that is causing the discomfort. You can access information on most appliances that we use in our practice under the "Orthodontic Terms" section of this website. An accurate description of the situation will better help us to help you. If you call our office after business hours, our phone message will provide directions on how to contact us.

Typical Emergencies and how to solve them:

Loose Or Poking Brackets:

If a wire causes irritation, push the wire away from the area using the eraser end of a pencil or a Q-tip. If the wire cannot be tucked away, cover the end with a small piece of wax or a cotton ball until you can see us for an adjustment.

If the main wire has come out of the tube on the back tooth, only attempt to reinsert it using a pair of needle-nosed pliers or tweezers if the wire is the initial wire when we first placed your braces. If the wire is not sticking you, place a piece of wax over the area. As a last resort, if you cannot come into our office, the wire can be cut with a small wire cutter or toenail clipper close to the back of the last brace - be careful not to break off any of the braces.

Loose Brackets or Bands:

If a bracket becomes loose, it usually remains connected to the main wire by a little colored rubber ring or a small steel ligature tie. Tweezers can be used to reposition the brace if it flips around the wire and becomes a source of irritation. Call our office and inform us of the problem. If a piece of your braces breaks or falls off, save the piece and call our office to schedule a repair visit.

Lost Separators:

If a rubber spacer or separator falls out, call our office so we can arrange to replace it. If it happens a day before your appointment to put on braces or bands, you do not need to do anything.

If You Swallow Something:

Remain calm if you swallow a piece of your appliance. It will usually go into the stomach and pass out of the body in a bowel movement. However, if you experience difficulty breathing, you should seek immediate medical attention. X-rays will be taken to determine the location of the swallowed piece.

Broken Retainer or Expander:

If a retainer cracks or breaks, remove it from your mouth and bring all the pieces to our office for professional repair.

Sore Teeth or Sore Gums:

After braces are placed in the mouth, it is normal for the teeth to be sore for about a few days to a week. Tylenol or Advil/Motrin will help relieve this discomfort. PLEASE CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN BEFORE TAKING ANY MEDICATIONS, PARTICULARLY IF YOU HAVE ANY HISTORY OF ALLERGIC REACTIONS. Some irritation to the cheeks and tongue is normal, but if you feel anything sharp is poking you, please call our office.

Rinsing your mouth with a cup of warm water and half a teaspoon of salt can also be soothing. If your teeth get sore suddenly in the middle of the month, give us a call. It is unusual for teeth to get sore several weeks after your last office visit.

If food becomes stuck between your teeth, use dental floss or a proxy brush to dislodge the food. If you cut your gums, tongue or the inside of your cheek, apply pressure to the bleeding site for several minutes. If the bleeding doesn’t stop, call our office.

Minor irritations and canker sores may heal much more quickly if you apply Zylactin or Orabase according to the manufacturer’s directions. You can purchase these products over the counter at most pharmacies and convenience stores.

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