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Patient Emergencies

Please refer to our video on "Emergencies" for more information on how to handle emergency orthodontic situations.


If you need immediate help please call our office at (973) 251-2265.

Typical Emergencies and how to solve them:

Loose or Poking Archwires:

If a wire causes irritation, push the wire away from the area using the eraser end of a pencil or a Q-tip. If the wire cannot be tucked away, cover the end of the wire with a small piece of wax or a cotton ball until you can see us for an adjustment.

If the main wire has come out of the tube on the back tooth, attempt to reinsert the wire with a pair of needle-nose pliers or tweezers. If the wire is sticking you, place a piece of wax over the area. As a last resort, if you cannot come into our office, the wire can be cut with a small wire cutter or fingernail clipper close to the back of the last brace.

Loose Brackets or Bands:

If a bracket becomes loose, it usually remains connected to the main wire by a little colored rubber ring or a small steel ligature tie. Tweezers can be used to reposition the brace if it flips around the wire and becomes a source of irritation. Call our office and inform us of the problem. If a piece of your braces breaks, save the piece and call our office to schedule a repair visit.

Lost Separators:

In case a rubber spacer or separator falls out, call our office so that we can arrange to replace it for you. If it happens a day before your appointment to put on braces or bands, you do not need to do anything.

If You Swallow Something:

Remain calm if you swallow a piece of your appliance. It will usually go into the stomach and pass out of the body in a bowel movement. However, if difficulty breathing is experienced, you should seek immediate medical attention. X-rays will be taken to determine the location of the swallowed piece.

Broken Retainer:

If a retainer cracks or breaks, remove the retainer from your mouth and bring all the pieces to our office for professional repair.

Sore Teeth or Sore Gums:

Take ibuprofen (Motrin/Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol), in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, if your teeth are sore after your appointment. PLEASE CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN BEFORE TAKING ANY MEDICATIONS, PARTICULARLY IF YOU HAVE ANY HISTORY OF ALLERGIC REACTIONS.

Rinsing your mouth with warm water and half a teaspoon of salt can also be soothing. If your teeth get sore suddenly in the middle of the month, give us a call because it is unusual for the teeth to get sore several weeks after your last office visit.

If food becomes stuck between your teeth, use dental floss or a proxy brush to dislodge the food. If you cut your gums, tongue, or the inside of your cheek, apply finger pressure to the bleeding site for several minutes. In the extremely unlikely event the bleeding doesn’t stop, call our office immediately.

Minor irritations and canker sores will heal much more quickly if you apply Zylactin or Orabase according to the manufacturer’s directions. You can purchase it over the counter at most pharmacies and convenient stores.

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