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How to Handle an Orthodontic Emergency

Addressing Orthodontic Emergencies from Home

When you decide to get orthodontic treatment, you’d like to think that everything is going to be smooth sailing throughout the entire process. However, accidents happen, and you may find yourself in the middle of an orthodontic emergency. In order to avoid further damage and protect yourself from harm, here’s how you should handle the most common orthodontic issues.

What Causes Orthodontic Emergencies?

Unless you’re trying to pry off your braces on your own — which we sincerely hope you don’t — most orthodontic emergencies happen entirely by accident. Some of the most common causes can be:

  • Eating foods that aren’t “braces-friendly”

  • Not wearing a mouthguard while playing sports

  • Getting into an accident or falling and hitting your mouth

Typically, you’ll want to address any issue that causes an injury to your mouth, intense pain, infection, or damage to your orthodontic equipment.

What to Do for An Orthodontic Emergency

Orthodontic emergencies in Northridge

If you find yourself in the middle of an orthodontic emergency, the first thing you’ll want to do is ring up your orthodontist. They’ll be able to advise you on the best course of action and let you know if the issue is something that can wait until your next scheduled appointment, should be addressed within a few days, or needs to be addressed right away.

For Broken or Loose Brackets

If a bracket becomes loose from your tooth after an accident or eating less-than-ideal foods, don’t panic. Leave it as is, and place orthodontic wax over it to reduce any discomfort or irritation.

If the bracket falls off your tooth entirely, leave the space alone. Your orthodontist will simply attach a new one during your next visit.

For Protruding Wires

If a wire snaps or begins poking your cheek or gums, you can take a clean cotton swab or pair of tweezers and try to push it flat against your tooth. If you’re unable to put the wire back into place, cover it with a bit of wax and schedule an appointment with your orthodontist so they can address the issue and spare you further discomfort.

For Lost Rubber Bands

It’s not entirely uncommon for the rubber bands that hold your bracket wire in place to pop off every now and then. You may be able to use a pair of sanitized tweezers to wrap it back around your bracket. If you’re unable to do so, don’t worry — simply place wax over the bracket until you’re able to see your orthodontist.

For Mouth Sores

Some patients may experience mouth sores when their lips or cheeks rub against metal brackets. The best thing to do in this situation is to place wax over the brackets that are causing the irritation. You can also rinse your mouth with saltwater to provide pain relief and avoid infection or use a topical anesthetic to resolve the discomfort.

For Broken Aligner Trays

If your aligner cracks before you receive your new set, you still may be able to wear it if the damage is not too severe. If the tray breaks entirely, place your old tray over your teeth to avoid losing progress. Contact your orthodontist to see if they recommend getting a new tray or wearing the old one until your next phase.

Orthodontic Services in Northridge

At Holistic Orthodontics, we understand that visiting the orthodontist can be a stressful time, but it is always our goal to help change our patients’ lives for the better.

Whether you are looking to straighten out crooked teeth, fix a misaligned jaw, or put a stop to endless snoring, our team is here to help!

Contact us today to transform your smile!




Monday: 10:00am – 6:00pm

Tuesday: 9:00am – 5:30pm

Wednesday: 9:00am – 5:30pm

Thursday: 9:00am – 5:00pm