In Case of Emergency

Orthodontic emergencies seldom occur, but when they do, we are here for you. Usually these situations happen when the bond between the tooth and the bracket breaks, often from excessive force. Wearing a protective mouth guard while playing sports will help protect your braces, as well as avoiding certain foods. Please see our Foods to Avoid Video in our Orthodontics Video Library.

When you have an orthodontic emergency, please call the office at (818) 980-5300 as soon as possible so we can address the problem and repair the damage. In the meantime, we have provided tips to alleviate any discomfort until you can come into the office. You can also watch some short, helpful videos in our Orthodontics Video Library.

Poking Wire

When your teeth shift, the wires may become too short or too long and poke your cheeks. Use a blunt instrument, like the end of a pencil with an eraser, to bend the wire toward your teeth. If this step doesn’t work, take a clean nail clipper or a small cutter and cut the wire flush to the closest bracket. Often patients find it easiest to place a small piece of orthodontic wax over the poking wire until they can get into the office. For information on how to use orthodontic wax, please see our In Case of Emergency video in the Orthodontic Video Library. If a wire is poking, please call the office at (818) 980-5300.

Broken Bracket or Band

When a bracket or band has broken off of the tooth, it is usually still attached to the main arch-wire. The bracket has a special clip that latches on the arch wire. You will know that the bracket is loose by seeing it “wiggle” or move. If the loose bracket is not bothering you, simply call the office at (818) 980-5300 to schedule an appointment to repair the loose bracket as soon as possible. If the loose bracket is poking you, then place a piece of orthodontic wax over the broken bracket and call the office for an appointment as soon as possible. Do not attempt to wear a headgear or attach a rubber band to a loose bracket or band. Appointments to fix broken brackets and bands can be time consuming and are not scheduled after school or work. Taking care of your braces saves time and shortens the length of treatment.

Rubber Spacers

Spacers are used to prep the teeth for orthodontic treatment and are an important part of the process. When a spacer pops out, it often occurs because a space between the contact areas of your teeth has opened. We don’t usually have to replace the spacer if you have an appointment within a day or two. Spacers can also come out if the patient eats sticky foods or probes the spacer repeatedly with their tongue. If you have issues with the spacer right after placement, we may need you to come in and have it replaced. Please call the office at (818) 980-5300 if a spacer comes out.

Sore Teeth

After an orthodontic adjustment, some patients have sore teeth. This happens because the teeth are actively moving. Tylenol or Advil should reduce the discomfort. Warm salt-water rinses will reduce the pain in your gums and jaws. If the soreness lasts more than one week, please call the office at (818) 980-5300.

Bleeding Gums

Usually, gums bleed because of a local irritation or infection, often caused by plaque build-up from inadequate brushing and flossing. With braces, you need to brush after each meal and snack. Floss your teeth at least once a day, too. To eliminate bleeding gums, try an electric toothbrush with a timer, a water- pick, and mouth rinses such as Listerine Total Care. Keeping up with regular dental care is important to your overall health. Make sure to see your general dentist every three to six months for cleanings and checkups. If you have persisting bleeding gums, call our office at (818) 980-5300.

For More Information

Many helpful and informative videos on these topics and others are available in our Orthodontics Video Library. Please always feel free to call the office at (818) 980-5300 with any questions or concerns.