woman talking to doctor

Life happens. Emergencies do, too.

To successfully complete the treatment plan, the patient must work together with the orthodontist. The teeth and jaw can only move toward their corrected positions if the patient consistently wears the rubber bands or other appliances as prescribed. Damaged appliances lengthen the treatment time. Generally, a broken/loose bracket can be fixed at your next regular appointment. Accidents involving trauma to your face and lips should be managed by the Emergency Room or your General Dentist. If you have a pokey wire that you cannot manage with wax, call our office to be connected with someone who can help.

Below are examples of what Johnson Orthodontics recommends you do during an orthodontic emergency.

Broken Braces

In most cases, broken or loose braces aren’t considered an urgent problem. The first thing you should do if you notice that one of your brackets is loose or broken is to call us. Know that a loose bracket may spin around on the wire but because it is attached to the wire and by an elastic, it is unlikely that you will swallow it.

The quick fix:

Take a little bit of your dental wax and press it against the loosebracket and your tooth. This will keep the bracket from moving around until you can come into our office.

Loose Band

If the band that is bonded to your back tooth becomes loose, there’s no need to panic. Call us and set up an appointment right away for us to rebond your loose band back to your tooth. If you wait too long bacteria may enter the space between your tooth and the band. This may cause your tooth to develop a white spot on the tooth’s surface and cause damage to the enamel.

The quick fix:

Unfortunately, there isn’t one. The best thing you can do is call us right when you notice that the band is loose and schedule an appointment as soon as possible.

Poking Wire

As teeth move, the wire of your braces has nowhere to go except out the back of the molar band area. This happens a lot for people who are trying to close a gap in their teeth or having their bite corrected.

The quick fix:

All you need to do is apply a little dental wax to the poking wire. This should protect your cheek from being caught on the end of the poking wire. If this doesn’t fix it, call our office, and make an appointment. We’ll take care of it right away.

Orthodontic Pain & Discomfort

Many patients experience pain four to six hours after getting their braces or having an adjustment. Then, over the next few days, the pain will gradually decrease.

The quick fix:

Remember to take over-the-counter pain medication like Tylenol or Ibuprofen before and after getting an adjustment.


If you experience a significant dental injury, you should immediately see an emergency doctor and a dentist. Make sure to call us to let us know what happened as well.

The good news:

In many dental injuries, braces have actually been known to help prevent the loss of any teeth because the wires and braces provide stability to your teeth.

Lost Or Broken Retainers

If you have just had your braces removed, losing your retainer, or breaking it, could mean that your teeth shift back relatively quickly. Call us immediately so that we can get you a replacement retainer right away.

The good news:

If you’ve been out of braces for a while, your teeth are in a relatively stable position and getting your retainer replaced immediately isn’t as much of an emergency.

Poking Metal Tie

If this happens, place dental wax on the poking metal tie to ease the irritation and call us so that we can help you.

The quick fix:

You can push the poky wire back into place using the end of a pencil eraser.

Mouth Sores

In general, braces have a reputation of feeling rough against your cheeks, lips, and tongue – especially right after you get them on. We recommend using dental wax on the areas that are most painful.

The quick fix:

To alleviate the pain right away, go to your local drugstore and pick up a topical anesthetic like Orajel®.


For all other emergencies,
call our office immediately so that we can get you seen right away.