Life with Braces

Braces Emergency

Braces Emergency

Luckily, the majority of orthodontic emergencies can be easily treated at home with a later follow up appointment at Hall Orthodontics. Some of the common orthodontic emergencies and their treatments are listed below. For major orthodontic emergencies, do not hesitate to call or text at 615-258-7117!


It is normal for a patient to have discomfort for a few days after braces or retainers are adjusted, which can make eating uncomfortable. Encourage soft foods and good oral hygiene and most importantly reassure the patient that the pain is normal and temporary. Taking over the counter medications that you would normally take for a headache may also help.

Food caught between teeth

Although not an emergency, food caught between the teeth can be very uncomfortable. Try tying a small knot in the middle of the floss to help remove the food. An interproximal brush and waterpik are also useful to help dislodge food caught between the food and braces.

Ligature comes off

Tiny rubber bands or small fine wires, known as ligatures, hold the wire to the bracket. You may be able to put a rubber ligature back on with a pair of sterile tweezers. If a wire ligature comes loose, simply remove it with sterile tweezers. If the wire ligature is sticking out poking, it may be bent back down using a pencil eraser or Q-tip.

Mouth sores and irritation

Braces may cause mouth irritation that can be very uncomfortable. While braces do not cause mouth ulcers, they may be precipitated or exacerbated by an irritation from braces. Prompt relief may be achieved by applying a small amount of topical anesthetic such as orabase/orajel directly to the surface. For irritation caused by braces, apply a small amount of relief wax directly to the area of braces causing the irritation. Simply pinch off a small piece and roll it into a ball the size of a small pea. Flatten the ball and place it completely over the area of the braces.

Protruding wire

If the wire has come out of the last bracket, you can try to put it back into the tube by directing it with a tweezer. If the archwire has slid around to one side try using a tweezer to slide it back to it’s original position.

If the wire just seems to be long, first try putting some of the orthodontic wax on it. If that doesn’t work, you or a parent can cut the wire with a nail clipper at home. Cut the wire as far back as you can. If you can’t reach all the way to the back, cut in between two other brackets and pull the end piece of the wire out of the brackets.

Loose brackets, wires, or bands

Always call our office and keep us informed on how you and your braces are doing. We will let you know if you can wait until your next scheduled appointment or if you should come in sooner to have an adjustment made. Always place any pieces in an envelope and bring it in with you. These two pictures illustrate of a broken bracket and a loose band.