Orthodontic Emergencies

True orthodontic emergencies are rare, but we are here for you should one arise. 

If there is obvious damage to the wires, bands and/or braces (brackets), it’s important to call our office as soon as possible. If you are not in severe pain as a result of these problems, it’s possible to see a dental professional within the next few days.


There are many causes of damage to braces, including:

  • Eating hard foods

  • Trauma to the facial area

  • Chewing inedible objects

Here is an overview of some common types of orthodontic mishaps:

Loose Brackets 

Brackets are the small metal or ceramic appliances that have been attached to the teeth using dental adhesive (resin). If both the bracket and the archwire are moving, this is not a true orthodontic emergency, but please call our office. Your bracket may be able to be repaired at your next visit or a new appointment may need to be scheduled. 

If the bracket has fallen and rotated around the archwire, place it in its proper position and use orthodontic wax as a temporary adhesive until the bracket can be reaffixed. If the bracket is no longer attached to the archwire and you are able to remove it from your mouth, please do so, and save the bracket.

Loose Bands

Bands are the metal rings which have been cemented around teeth. Loose bands pose no immediate threat, but if left untreated for several weeks, decalcification (a white spot) or tooth decay can occur. This is because the dental bonding agents normally seal the inner portion of the band from bacteria, saliva and plaque. If bacteria and saliva enter the crevice, an acidic byproduct is produced, which erodes tooth enamel.


It is important to call our office for advice in the case of a loose band. The band will be reaffixed to the tooth or replaced if it has come off the tooth entirely. If an orthodontic band has fallen out of the mouth, save the band and do not attempt to affix it yourself.


Broken or Bothersome Wires

Broken archwires are one of the most common orthodontic problems. When the archwire is broken, there is a possibility it will cause soreness or irritation to the inner cheek. In this case, use tweezers or a pencil eraser to bend the wire into a less irritating position. If the broken archwire cannot be bent out of the way, place a pea-sized piece of orthodontic relief wax over the protruding end to protect soft tissue. Nail trimmers can also be used to cut the archwire as close to the edge of the bracket as possible so that it is no longer poking.


These measures are only temporary solutions. Please call our office for an appointment to replace the broken wire.


If you have any questions or concerns about damage to your braces, please contact us as soon as possible.