Orthodontic Emergencies – How to Handle Them?

Orthodontic Emergencies

True orthodontic emergencies are rare, but you can find a solution at your home or wait for an appointment on the next business day. Pain and discomfort caused by your braces or any other orthodontic appliances aren’t considered an orthodontic emergency. Hence, in situations like this, our advice is to stay calm and not panic.

Just like any other health issue, you will undergo emergency situations for your orthodontic problems. You have to know the steps to follow, and this article will guide you with the same. Read on to learn more.

What Are Considered as Orthodontic Emergencies?

An orthodontic emergency includes the following situations:

  • Infection, Bleeding, or Swelling in your gums, face, or mouth.
  • An accident that leads to an injury to your mouth, teeth, or face.
  • Severe discomfort or pain in the areas which don’t respond to a treatment.
  • Any trauma or injuries to your teeth, mouth, or face.

If you think you have any of these issues, you can start treating them at home to lessen the pain temporarily. If nothing works and you think your problem is severe, then you should rush to an orthodontist to get help with your problem. You can use the emergency rooms or wait for your turn to get an appointment with the orthodontist when you reach there.

What to Do During Orthodontic Emergencies?

From Loose Brackets to Broken Retainers, there are a lot of minor orthodontic emergencies that can happen to you, and you must know how to deal with them. This section will guide you with the remedies for all the orthodontic emergencies so treating them becomes easy for you.

    • Loose Brackets

      The pieces which are glued to the front side of your tooth are known as Brackets. Having loosened brackets is something that can happen to anyone, and it isn’t a severe emergency. This usually occurs when you consume sticky food or something hard to chew. This can cause you pain, and your braces can also take extra time to straighten your teeth. If you have loose brackets, then you should contact your orthodontist for an appointment during regular hours or on the next business day.

    • Food Caught Between Teeth

      Sometimes, a food particle can get stuck between our teeth, causing discomfort. In situations like this, you must try removing the food by using a toothpick or brushing and flossing your teeth. If this doesn’t help you solve the problem, you can see your orthodontist during the regular hours.

    • Loose Wires or Bands

      Sometimes you may notice wires or bands poking out of your mouth, which may cause you discomfort. In situations like this, you can stop your pain by following these tips:

      • Use a nail clipper to trim the wires so they can’t bother you anymore.
      • Try to push the wire back into the moral tube. You can do this by using an eraser that comes at the back of your pencil or by using cotton.
      • Visit your orthodontist if the problem occurs during regular hours or schedule an appointment for the next day. Since this isn’t considered as a problematic emergency situation, you won’t get access to the emergency room.
    • Mouth Sores

      Mouth sores are caused due to multiple reasons. Some of the reasons include biting your cheek or tongue, braces, chewing tobacco, etc. If you have mouth sores, you should visit your local orthodontist so he can prescribe you some medicines that can help to fix them.

    • Ligatures Coming Off

      Ligature refers to the tiny rubber band that’s stretched around your brackets. It helps to hold the wire so the wires can deliver force to your teeth and help them to move them in the right position. If your ligatures come off, you can use sterile tweezers to put them back in place. A cotton swab and a pencil eraser can also help you to bend it back into position. If nothing works and your ligatures keep breaking, schedule an appointment with your orthodontist.

    • Broken Retainer

      Broken retainers may incorrectly apply force to your teeth, changing their position into something you won’t like. If you end up with a broken retainer, you must stop wearing it immediately. You can collect the pieces in a plastic bag and later bring them to your orthodontist because some orthodontists may help you fix your broken retainers first.


At Putnam Orthodontics, we understand that orthodontic emergencies happen, causing you discomfort. Hence, you can visit us in Carmel Hamlet and Briarcliff Manor, NY, so we can address your issues and provide you with relief from your painful situation.

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Dr. Satish Pai

Dr. Satish Pai – an Ivy League trained dentist and a faculty at Columbia University, believes that a perfect smile not only makes a person look great but feel great while boosting confidence.  As the founder of Putnam Orthodontics, he is dedicated to not only creating perfect smiles for his patients but also educating people with his engaging articles about all things related to a perfect smile and oral health. Spending time with his family always brings a smile on his face. 

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