Orthodontic & Dental Emergencies – Tips and Tricks

Categories: Orthodontic Info

A true dental or orthodontic emergency can occur if you experience one of the following:

Major Dental Emergencies:

  • Trauma or Injury – If a tooth is broken, chipped, or loose, or your lip or cheek has been punctured or is bleeding heavily, this likely needs medical attention.
  • Infection or Swelling – If your face or mouth, including gums, appears to be infected or has significant swelling, you should seek medical help.
  • Severe Discomfort or Unmanageable Pain – Soreness is normal, but intense pain in these areas may indicate a more serious problem and should be examined.


It’s important to avoid foods that can damage your braces. Many people wear braces for about two years. All chewy, sticky, crunchy, and hard foods should be avoided throughout braces treatment.

good food and bad food for braces

While this may seem like a long time to go without popcorn or bubble gum, popcorn kernels can break or get stuck in your brackets or bands and create puffy and inflamed gums, while, hard foods can break the brackets of your braces delaying your treatment progress as well as sticky foods that can bend the wires. If you have a loose wire, don’t try to fix it yourself. Call hi 5 Orthodontics (50923BRACE). In the meantime, if a wire is poking into your cheek or lip try one of the following options to get comfy until we see you.

  1. Dry the area of the tooth thoroughly, apply a small ball of wax on the poky wire
  2. loose bracket wire

  3. Try bending the wire away from your cheek or lip using the end of a spoon or pencil eraser
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  5. If none of the above are helping, as a last resort, try clipping the poky wire flush to the bracket with a set of clean, sharp, nail clippers. A ball of wax may still be necessary. Avoid the risk of swallowing the clipped wire by using folded tissue or gauze around the area.
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At Hi 5 Orthodontics, we have an assistant on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to assist you in an orthodontic or dental emergency.

Pain and Discomfort from first braces appointment or archwire adjustment:

It is normal to experience some discomfort as a part of orthodontic treatment, especially in the hours after the braces and/or a new archwire is placed (an archwire adjustment) and up to 24 hours. Eating soft foods for the first 24-48 hours is a good idea. If the pain doesn’t subside within three to five days, it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment. Until then, try the following:

  1. Dissolving a teaspoon of salt in an eight-ounce glass of water and gargling with the solution. Do this for 30 seconds
  2. Over-the-counter pain medication like Tylenol (acetaminophen), Motrin/Advil (ibuprofen) or Aleve (naproxen sodium) will relieve discomfort. *use as directed

Mouth sores:

Introducing brackets and wires to the mouth can sometimes cause canker sores on the gums, lips, cheeks or tongue. To decrease pain and discomfort, we recommend

  1. Rinsing with warm salt water rinses
  2. An over the counter mouth sore rinse like Peroxyl, or applying a topical anesthetic like Orabase, Orajel or a drop of Clove Oil, using a cotton swab to the affected area(s).

over the counter mouth sore productsOver time, the tissues in your mouth will adapt to the braces.

Playing Sports

mouth guardJust because you wear braces doesn’t mean you can’t play sports. You just need to take some extra precautions. Sports-related injuries to the mouth and jaw are common. The best way to protect your mouth and your appliance is to wear a mouthguard. There are several different types of mouthguards available, we sell and provide Shock Doctor mouthguards, designed especially for patients wearing braces.

Ties come off:

Elastic tiesTiny rubber bands also known as elastic ties hold the wire to the bracket. If a tie slips off the corner(s) of the bracket, you may be able to put it back into place using sterile tweezers.

Brushing and Flossing

In order to keep your braces in good condition and avoid orthodontic emergencies, it’s important to brush and floss thoroughly after every meal. It’s easy for small particles of food to get trapped in your braces, and if the food isn’t removed, it gets wedged between the teeth and gums and causes plaque.

avoid certain foods when going through orthodontic treatment