What to Do in Case of Emergency:
If you break or loosen any of your appliances and it is causing pain or severe discomfort that you cannot manage with any of the suggested remedies below, please contact the office.
Please do not come directly to the office – by calling us, we can schedule a time for us to appropriately address your needs. Most orthodontic emergencies are not urgent (loose bracket, slightly pokey wire) and will be scheduled during regular office hours.
If you are having a true emergency, please call us immediately. If it's a medical emergency, please call 911.
If you are a Kind Orthodontics Patient and having an orthodontic emergency, need advice, have an urgent question, or need immediate assistance outside of normal office hours, you can text or call (please leave a message) at our After-Hours Emergency Phone Number: (510) 736-0067.
Please use the information below to help guide you.
Tools & Supplies
With these tools and supplies on hand (most of which you already have), you will be prepared to handle the most common orthodontic "emergencies."
Non-medicated orthodontic relief wax
Small, sharp clipper
Non-prescription pain reliever (acetaminophen or ibuprofen supplied by parent/guardian)
Over-the-counter topical anesthetic (such as Orabase or Ora-Gel)
Food Caught Between Teeth
You can remove food caught between teeth with a piece of dental floss. Try tying a small knot in the middle of the floss to help remove the food. You may also use an interproximal brush or toothpick to dislodge food caught between teeth and braces.
Lost Wire or Ligature
Tiny rubber bands or small, fine wires, known as ligatures, hold the wire to the bracket. If a rubber or wire ligature is lost, make sure the wire is not hanging above or below the bracket as that could cause the tooth to move in the wrong direction.
Ligatures Come Off
If a rubber ligature comes off (and isn't lost), you may be able to put it back in place using sterile tweezers. If a wire ligature comes loose, simply remove it with sterile tweezers. If the wire ligature is sticking out into the lip but is not loose, it may be bent back down with a Q-tip or pencil eraser to eliminate the irritation.
If there are many missing or broken ligatures, please give us a call.
It’s normal for you to have discomfort for a day or two after braces or retainers are adjusted. We recommend soft foods and rinse your mouth with warm salt water. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen may be effective in reducing the soreness.
Some patients are susceptible to episodes of mouth sores. While braces do not cause them, they may be precipitated or exacerbated by an irritation from braces. This is not an emergency, but we understand that it may be very uncomfortable for you. Prompt relief may be achieved by applying a small amount of topical anesthetic (such as Orabase or Ora-Gel) directly to the sore using a cotton swab. You can buy the gel at your local pharmacy.
Irritation in Mouth
Sometimes new braces can be feel rough to the mouth. A small amount of non-medicinal relief wax makes an excellent buffer between the braces and your mouth. Simply pinch off a small piece and roll it into a pea size ball, flatten the ball, and place it completely over the area of the braces causing irritation. Accidental ingestion of the wax is not a problem. The wax is harmless.
Occasionally, the end of a wire will work itself out of place and cause irritation or poke your cheek. Use a Q-tip or eraser end of a pencil to gently push the wire so that it's flat against the tooth. If the wire cannot be moved into a comfortable position, cover it with orthodontic wax (see "Irritation in Mouth" above). If the problem persists, please schedule a time to come have the pokey wire clipped.
Loose Wires, Brackets or Bands
If the braces have come loose in any way, please call us to determine appropriate next steps.
Brackets are the parts of braces attached to teeth with a special adhesive. They are generally positioned in the center of each tooth. The brackets can be knocked off by hard or crunchy foods, trauma to the mouth, or the adhesive failing.
If the loose bracket has rotated on the wire and is sticking out, and you cannot come to the office to fix it quickly, you can do a temporary fix to alleviate discomfort and prevent further damage, but take care to prevent swallowing or other injury.
To put the bracket back in place, use sterile tweezers to slide the bracket along the wire until it is between two teeth. Rotate the bracket back to the proper position, then slide it back to the center of the tooth.
If a band (metal ring around tooth) has become loose, either gently remove it from the tooth or leave it on the wire in a passive, comfortable position.