​​What counts as an orthodontic emergency?

When anything happens to your or your loved one’s braces, it can cause panic, but understand that not every brace mishap requires you running to the ER. Most of these situations can be easily dealt with at home. Before we know how to deal with different orthodontic emergencies, we need to identify what counts as an orthodontic emergency. Following are some instances that can be categorized as an emergency:
  • You face server injury to your face or teeth.
  • You can notice visible signs of gum infection.
  • You are experiencing severe pain.
Here’s a simple guide on what to do for common isues involving braces:

Loose or broken bracket

Loose or even broken brackets are no reason to rush to the ER. If a loose bracket is causing you discomfort, just put some orthodontic wax on it. It is made of paraffin, carnauba wax, or beeswax and is a handy ointment to keep at home if you wear braces. However, if a bracket is entirely broken, just remove it completely and fix an appointment at Nordberg Orthodontics in Puyallup.

Poking wires

If your archwires are poking your gums, it can be a painful experience. But you can easily fix them using one of these methods:
  • Take a disinfected eraser end of a pencil or a clean Q-tip to push it back into the molar tube.
  • Take some orthodontic wax and make a ball of it to place at the end of the wire.
  • Cut off the poking end or trim it using disinfected nail clippers or nail filler.
You can follow these home remedies to fix a poking wire end of your braces at home till your orthodontist can fix it at your next appointment.


With braces, feeling pain and a little soreness sometimes is normal. This discomfort occurs due to your teeth adjusting their position. Your teeth may also feel a bit lose sometimes, it is just a part of the correction process. It is nothing to worry about and here’s what you can do to soothe your pain:
  • Take over-the-counter pain relief meds.
  • Chew sugarless gum. It’ll stimulate your blood flow.
Remember, braces pain is more like a feeling of soreness or discomfort. More like your body after an intense workout session. If you feel a sharp, shooting sensation, then you should reach out to your orthodontist.

Ulcers and Sores

This is another common issue among people wearing braces. Your gums may get irritated due to constant contact with your braces and this irritation results in small ulcers or sores in your mouth. Unpleasant as it may sound, it isn’t a sign of concern. These sores normally go away quickly. Here’s what you can do though:
  • Take pain relief medication
  • Put some orthodontic wax on the irritating bracket
  • Don’t touch the sores with your fingers
  • Wire Slip Out

    Sometimes the wire can slip out from the molar tube entirely, simply try to fit it back in by using a clean pair of tweezers or your fingers. Even if you can’t fit it back, it’s ok to cut it off because the wire is still fixed by other brackets so the treatment won’t be affected.

    Open Coil Spring

    Sometimes, trauma to the braces, eating something crunchy or hard, or poor oral hygiene can cause coil springs to come loose. You can attempt to place it back using your fingers or clean tweezers only if you feel confident enough to do so. Otherwise, just put some orthodontic wax over the loose end and consult your orthodontist.

    If you didn’t find your issue listed here, you can always reach out to the experts at Nordberg Orthodontics.