Emergency Info

There are very few true orthodontic emergencies. Most problems can be solved by yourself or your parents at home. However, if you are having a complication that cannot be solved or is causing serious pain, please give us a call as soon as possible so we can schedule an appointment to repair the problem. Please save any items that come out and please refer to the diagram below if you decide to call. This helps our staff understand what the problem is, and allows us to properly prepare for your visit.


Pain and discomfort is a normal part of orthodontic treatment. The pain tends to occur about 4-6 hours after the braces are placed or after an adjustment appointment. Over the next day or two, it may become worse. Then, after 3-5 days, the pain will subside. Over the counter pain medication just prior to and after the adjustment appointments may help with discomfort.


Broken or loose brackets are generally not considered an urgent problem. When a bracket comes off of a tooth, it is normally still attached to the wire with an o-tie. This will prevent the bracket from being swallowed, but it may move or spin around on the wire. If this is a problem, a little ball of orthodontic wax pressed against the bracket will keep it from moving until your next appointment. You may also try removing the bracket by taking off the o-tie with tweezers that have been sterilized in alcohol to then remove the bracket from under the wire.


This is not an emergency, but can be a little uncomfortable or embarrassing. It is easily fixed with a piece of dental floss. Try tying a small knot in the middle of the floss to help remove the food, or use an interproximal brush or toothpick to dislodge food caught between teeth and braces. Proper brushing can also help dislodge pieces of food.


Please call the office as soon as possible if you have lost or broken your retainer(s). If the braces have recently been removed, there is a greater chance that the teeth will shift and move if a retainer is not replaced relatively quickly. We will need to schedule an appointment to take an impression for the new retainer. If you still have models from the previous retainer, let us know when you schedule your appointment and when you bring them with you to your next visit. Then, we will determine if we will be able to use them in place of a new impression.


During all phases of treatment, teeth are moving, de-rotating, and spaces may be closing. At times, this may cause the orthodontic wires to shift or sometimes extend out of the last bracket or band. This can cause discomfort to the gums or cheeks. Most times a pokey wire can be handled at home very simply with some orthodontic wax. Drying the area with a paper towel or cotton swab before applying the wax may help it stick. Pinch a small piece of wax and roll it into a ball between your fingers; then place it on the end of the wire that is causing you pain. The wax will smooth the area and keep the cheek from getting caught on the wire. If wax does not resolve the pain, use nail clippers that have been sterilized in alcohol to clip the end of the wire behind the band..


When a band (ring around the back teeth) comes loose, the patient is in no immediate harm. However, the band is normally cemented on the tooth with an adhesive that seals the inner portion of the band from saliva and plaque. If the band is left loose for a period of time (3-4 weeks), saliva and bacteria may enter into the crevice between the tooth and the band. The bacteria produce an acidic byproduct, which then eats away at the enamel (demineralization). The result is decalcification (white spot) or a cavity on the tooth surface. It can form rather quickly, causing damage to the enamel, so a phone call to the office is recommended.


If a separator comes out, call our office to schedule a time for it to be replaced. It is common for a patient to lose a separator during treatment, but necessary for all separators to be in place prior to fitting bands at your next appointment.


An expander is an appliance used in some patients to help widen the palate. If the expander becomes loose, it will not expand nor maintain the expansion that has already been acheived. Please call the office as soon as possible to schedule an appointment to repair.


The braces have a tendency to feel rough against the cheeks, lips, and tongue, especially soon after the braces are placed. This will sometimes lead to soreness and cause discomfort. Orthodontic wax can be used in areas that are particularly painful. However, limiting the use of wax will help your mouth grow used to your new braces more quickly.


Tiny rubber bands (o-ties or colors), hold the wire to the bracket. If a rubber o-tie should come off, you may be able to put it back in place using sterile tweezers. If an o-tie is lost within 2 weeks of your previous appointment, give our office a call to schedule an appointment to repair. Otherwise, you are fine to wait until your next scheduled appointment.


Jolley Smiles Main Office: (970) 523-6333
Emergency Phone: (970) 361-1519