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Emergency Repairs

Don't worry, accidents happen. Find out what to do in an orthodontic emergency and how repairs are handled for patients wearing orthodontic appliances.

Emergencies while wearing braces or other orthodontic appliances fall into two categories:

Direct injuries to the mouth or teeth
Following a direct injury to your mouth or teeth, whether undergoing orthodontic care or not, you should be seen by your family dentist as soon as possible. Usually an x-ray of the involved tooth or teeth, is needed to determine the extent of the injury.

If a tooth has been knocked out or severely displaced or fractured, it's best to contact your family dentist first, since we may not have the necessary materials needed to treat these injuries. If orthodontic appliances are dislodged or displaced, we will need to replace or adjust them as soon as possible. Please call our office immediately after seeing your family dentist.

If you are unable to reach your family dentist or an alternate emergency facility, call our office and we will assist you in locating someone to care for the injury.

Emergencies related to orthodontic appliances
Broken or loose appliances may occur during your orthodontic care. Problems such as loose brackets, bands, or broken or poking wires are not considered orthodontic emergencies, and therefore do not require you to be seen in our office outside of our regular business hours.

However, it is necessary that you do call our office as soon as possible the next business day so that we can evaluate the urgency of the problem and schedule you to be seen accordingly.

In the case you do need assistance outside business hours, please call our office and our voice mail will give you instructions on what to do and whom to call.

Problems and Solutions

Loose Bracket or Band
If the bracket or band is still attached to the wire, leave it in place. If it's uncomfortable, cover it with wax. Don't connect headgear or elastics to a loose bracket or band. If a loose band becomes dislodged, call for an appointment and bring the dislodged band.

Lost Tie Wire or Elastic Tie
Call to ask if an appointment is necessary.

Wire Out of Tube
Try to place the wire back into the tube using tweezers, or place wax over it if it is uncomfortable and call for an appointment.

Rotated Archwire
Try to slide the wire around to the other side. If unsuccessful, place wax on the wire and call for an appointment.

Poking Wire Tie
Bend the wire back with a cotton bud or pencil eraser. If unsuccessful, cover with wax and call for an appointment.

Poking Archwire
Cover with wax and call for an appointment.

Other Problems

Headgear or Appliance Does Not Fit – Call for an appointment.
Soreness from Braces – Rinse with warm salt water for gum or cheek irritation. If necessary, take a pain reliever that you would use to relieve a headache or other minor injury.
Lost of Broken Retainer – Call for an appointment.
Accidents Involving Teeth – Call your dentist or orthodontist immediately.

This site is meant to provide general information about orthodontic treatment. These pages do not provide medical advice, and should not be used as a substitute for medical advice. Wellington Orthodontic Associates and their agents including website designers, contributors or Internet Service Providers provide no warranty and accept no liability for the information disclosed here. For medical advice see your orthodontist.