Orthodontic Emergency Care

If a part of your braces becomes loose or breaks, it’s most likely not an emergency and can be taken care of with a follow up visit to your Dental Associates orthodontist. Simply contact your orthodontist during normal business hours and explain the situation. In the meantime, you can find temporary solutions to common braces issues on this page, after the information provided regarding injuries that may indeed require an after-hours orthodontic visit.

Traumatic Injury

If you experience trauma to your mouth or feel emergency care is necessary, call Dental Associates right away. Dental Associates offers 24-hour, on-call urgent care service for active patients of record. Our emergency care answering service will contact our on-call staff, and we’ll make sure to take care of you as soon as possible.

For emergency orthodontics care call:

  • Appleton: (920) 730 0345 / (866) 428 2345
  • Appleton – North: (920) 734 2345 / (866) 602 0111    
  • Fond du Lac: (920) 924 9090 / (800) 398 0672
  • Franklin: (414) 435-0787 / (866) 824-3220
  • Glendale: (414) 539-5600
  • Green Bay: (920) 431 0345 / (800) 414 0274
  • Green Bay – Howard: (920) 431-8649
  • Greenville: (920) 757 0100 / (866) 602 0083
  • Kenosha: (262) 942 7000 / (866) 811 4619
  • Milwaukee – Beerline B: (414) 334-4043
  • Milwaukee – Downtown: (414) 334-3452
  • Milwaukee – Miller Park Way: (414) 645 4540 / (866) 346 8098
  • Sturtevant: (262) 884-3011 / (877) 251-0240
  • Waukesha: (262) 436-3363
  • Wauwatosa: (414) 771 2345 / (800) 398 0687

For addresses and maps of our dental clinics, visit our Locations page.

Soreness from Braces

It’s normal to experience discomfort for a day or two after braces are put on or adjusted at future appointments. It’s not an emergency, but it can be uncomfortable especially when trying to eat. Eating soft foods for a couple of days may help, including soups, stews, and macaroni and cheese. Over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help as well.

Mouth Sores from Braces

Because of the brackets on traditional braces, you might experience a few mouth sores. These sores may appear inside the cheeks, or on the lips or even on the tongue. These sores are common, and unfortunately may be rather uncomfortable.

Applying a topical anesthetic like Orabase or Ora-Gel will help you feel better, as well as help the sores heal. Reapply the anesthetic as often as you need to and be sure to apply it with a cotton swab so you don’t introduce the area to possible infection. To reduce the further appearance of these sores, you can apply a little bit of wax to the rough spot on the braces.

Irritation of Lips and Cheeks from Braces

It may take a little time for your mouth, cheek, lips, and tongue to get used to the feeling of having braces. To help alleviate some of the irritation, Dental Associates will provide you with relief wax. Simply pinch off a small piece and roll it into a tiny ball. Flatten the ball and place it over the area of the braces that is causing the irritation. If the wax falls off, use a piece of wet cotton wrapped around the offending attachment or even a small piece of an orange peel. You’ll eat better, talk better, and feel better just by having a buffer between your braces and your cheek or lip. Call your Dental Associates orthodontist if the irritation persists, as you may need a small adjustment.

Food Caught Behind Braces

Getting food stuck in between your teeth and behind your braces can be a little uncomfortable and even a little embarrassing, but there’s an easy fix.  Simply tie a small knot in the middle of the floss to help remove the food as you push the floss behind the bracket. You can also use an interproximal brush or even a regular toothpick, but be gentle as to not hurt your gums or damage the braces.

What to Do if a Braces Bracket Ligature Band Comes Off

The ligature is the tiny rubber band that’s stretched around the bracket. Its job is to hold the wire to the bracket so the wire can deliver force to the teeth and move them. If your rubber ligature comes off, try to put it back in place with sterile tweezers. If the wire ligature is sticking out into your lip but is not loose, you can try to bend it back with a cotton swab or pencil eraser. Be as gentle as possible, because if one ligature pops off or breaks, others may do so as well. If ligatures continue to break, call your orthodontist for a follow-up visit.

What to Do If Braces Brackets Come Loose

Brackets serve as handles to hold the wire of the braces in place. Brackets are bonded to the teeth with adhesive, and they are quite sturdy. However, if you eat hard or sticky foods the brackets can loosen easily. The brackets can loosen or break as well if you play sports and get hit in the mouth. That’s why you should ask your dentist or orthodontist about wearing a mouth guard during contact sports.

The best thing to do if a bracket breaks or comes loose is to contact your orthodontist. They will examine your mouth and decide the best course of action to fix the bracket. If you can’t get to your orthodontist right away, be as careful as possible not to cause any further damage by being especially cautious when eating and brushing. 

What to Do If Braces Wires Come Loose

The archwire of braces fits in the horizontal slots in each bracket. The wire is secured to all the brackets and occasionally the end of a wire will work itself out and cause irritation. The best way to alleviate discomfort is to push the wire back down. Gently use a cotton swab or pencil eraser to push the wire back so it’s flat against your tooth. If you can’t get the wire back to a comfortable position, cover it with relief wax to create a buffer between your braces and the area of your mouth that’s irritated. 

In an extremely bothersome situation, and as a last resort, clip the wire. Reduce the possibility of swallowing the snipped piece by putting a folded tissue or piece of gauze around the area, then use a sharp clippers and snip off the wire. You can also use relief wax if the area is still irritated. We recommend making a follow-up appointment with your Dental Associates orthodontist to make sure the braces are still secure and to get a different wire if necessary.