How to Handle Orthodontic Emergencies At Home

As a Dream Orthodontics patient, you deserve to feel confident and informed about your treatment, especially in these confusing times. Whether you’ve just started or are almost done, knowing how to handle orthodontic emergencies can put you at ease between visits to our office. One comforting fact is that real emergencies are uncommon, even though they are possible. Knowing what to do if one occurs can make the experience less stressful. But what do we mean by “true orthodontic emergency”? In general, this would include any of the following:

  • Serious injury or trauma to the face, neck, mouth, teeth, or gums
  • Swelling, infection, or bleeding of the gums or mouth
  • Severe pain or discomfort in your teeth, mouth, face, or neck

If you experience any of these problems, call us as soon as you can to schedule an emergency appointment. We’ll follow the highest standards of sanitation and disinfection, as always. We’ll also make sure that you’re the only patient in the office during your appointment. If you’re worried that your treatment will be interrupted by an orthodontic emergency, that is generally not the case.

Dr. Morra with a patient

How to handle minor “emergencies” at home

Of course, you don’t want to put anyone’s health at risk during a pandemic by coming into our office when it’s not absolutely necessary. That’s why we want to help you handle minor issues at home. The good news is that the majority of problems you may encounter while wearing braces fall into this category. 

Below you’ll find a list of the most common minor “emergencies” that many patients experience. Keep reading for more information about them, including what you can do if they happen to you!

Mouth sores

Some people are prone to mouth sores, and wearing braces can irritate sensitive areas and exacerbate the issue. If you’re one of these people, you know who you are! Try swabbing a topical anesthetic on the sore. You can also cover your bracket or aligner with orthodontic wax to avoid irritation. Saltwater rinses have long been proven as a great home remedy to speed up healing & relieve soreness. Simply mix one teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water, then swish it around your mouth for about 30 seconds.

Loose or broken brackets, bands, or wires

You should always let us know if one of your brackets comes loose or your wire breaks, so we may plan your next visit accordingly. You do not need to come in right away, here are a few things to consider trying while you are at home. 

If a band or bracket is broken but still attached to the wire, try to leave it alone until we can see you. If any part of your braces are broken or loose, don’t connect any elastics. If any part begins to irritate the inside of your mouth, you can cover that part with orthodontic wax. If a piece has actually broken off, please place it in a bag and bring it with you to your appointment.

Misplaced archwire, bracket, or tie

As your teeth move during your treatment, the archwire that connects your brackets might begin to stick out near the back of your mouth and cause irritation. If this is the case, move the wire into a better spot using the eraser end of a pencil or cotton swab. 

Similarly, if any wires have moved out of their proper place, use a pair of tweezers or a pencil eraser and move them back into place. If any part of your braces is irritating your mouth, try putting some orthodontic wax over parts that are poking out. This will help relieve the immediate discomfort, but be sure to contact us as soon as you can and complete a virtual visit, so Dr. Morra can assess the problem and possibly help you correct it.  

Tooth pain or loose teeth

Believe it or not, it is good for your teeth to get a little loose during your treatment. It’s all part of the process. However, it can make your mouth a bit sore. Saltwater rinses have long been proven as a great home remedy to relieve soreness. Simply mix one teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water, then swish it around your mouth for about 30 seconds. A warm washcloth or a warm heating pad placed on the outside of your jaw can offer some relief as well!

orthodontic emergencies

Dream Orthodontics is here to help 

Although true orthodontic emergencies are rare, they do happen from time to time. If you experience one, you should seek treatment from an experienced and qualified orthodontist like Dr. Morra as soon as possible. 

Even minor emergencies can be stressful when you can’t come into our office as easily. To help you feel more comfortable, we are now offering virtual visits. These allow Dr. Morra to monitor your progress and provide insight on any problems you’re experiencing. Just go to, send us five photos following the instructions, and we’ll get back to you as soon as Dr. Morra has examined your smile. We’ll let you know if there are any adjustments to be made while you wait to come in and see us again. 

We understand that life during the COVID-19 is stressful enough, and we want to help minimize your anxiety in any way we can. Your smile shouldn’t be just another thing to worry about, and it doesn’t have to be when you know how to handle anything that comes your way.