Emergency Appointments

Some minor problems can occur during orthodontic treatment ranging from sore teeth and swollen gums to bent wires and broken brackets. You can avoid many problems by following these guidelines:

  • Avoid hard, sticky and crunchy foods. These will bend and break brackets and wires, which will slow down your treatment time.
  • Soda, sugar, and sweets cause demineralization (white marks) on your teeth and contribute to loose brackets, so enjoy those in moderation.
  • Always rinse with water and clean your teeth after eating.

Call us right away if anything feels loose, poking or out of place, and we will schedule you for an emergency appointment to fix it.

Emergencies You can Take Care of at Home


Pamper your teeth with warm, soft foods for a day or two. Take Acetemenophin (Tylenol) as needed, but avoid Advil, Aleve and Motrin as they slow down tooth movement. Warm compresses will also help alleviate some soreness. Call us if discomfort persists, and we can review your treatment and other solutions. 

Wire out of tube

Use a small pair of pliers or tweezers to gently shift the wire back into the tube. 

Wire poking cheek

For minor pokes, place a small piece of wax or wet cotton on the wire until you come in for your appointment. Rinse with Peroxyl or warm salt water to help the irritated area heal.

Loose bracket

Place a larger piece of wax over the bracket and tooth to keep it from irritating. If the bracket comes off the wire, keep it in a small bag or envelope and bring it with you so we can rebond it.

Hook for elastic came off

Do not wear your elastics on any brackets other than instructed. Call us to find out if you should continue wearing other elastic patterns. We will tell you if you need to come in and replace the hook, or if you can wait until your next scheduled appointment.

Damaged or lost retainers

Wear your clear, removable retainer to keep teeth from shifting until we can see you. Call us and we will schedule you for an appointment, which will include an office visit and repair or replacement fee.

Swollen or bleeding gums

This is usually a result of poor oral hygiene. Rinse with Peroxyl or warm salt water to reduce irritation. Using an electric toothbrush and Waterflosser help improve oral hygiene better than manual brushing and flossing alone.

Adjusting to a Herbst Appliance

The first week with a Herbst Appliance will take some getting used to. If you are having trouble chewing, cut food into smaller pieces or stick to smoothies and soft foods. Your bite will improve within a few weeks, and you will be able to return to regular eating. If the appliance breaks or feels loose, call us right away and we will schedule you for an emergency appointment. 


Other Dental Emergencies or Trauma

Make sure you always wear a mouth guard when playing sports to prevent serious tooth trauma! But...

  If an injury or severe trauma occurs while you are in treatment, seek medical attention immediately. Our office or your dentist can reposition displaced teeth. Displaced teeth need to be stabilized, and a root canal may be needed soon after the trauma. We are always available for emergencies, just call the office and listen to the voice message to hear get in touch with the doctor on call.