Knowing when you need emergency treatment can be difficult at first, however most Orthodontic issues are minor and can be managed at home. There are some issues that may require you to come in the practice for emergency care.

If you are experiencing any of the following, please contact us and our technician will confirm if you need an emergency appointment:

  • If you have swelling in your gums, cheek or face that is spreading, please call us to make an emergency appointment.
  • If you have broken or damaged retainers that are painful to wear
  • If you have recently had orthodontic surgery and are experiencing post-op issues, pain, or unexpected discomfort.
  • If a brace has become broken or damaged and is causing major discomfort
  • If you have implants or screws that have come loose and are causing pain
  • If you have experienced trauma to the face and are in pain or discomfort

Home Remedies & Interim Care for Minor Orthodontic Issues

Not all orthodontic issues require emergency treatment. If you are experiencing minor discomfort you may be able to treat this at home until you can book a regular appointment.

General Soreness or Mouth Sores

It is normal to experience some soreness and discomfort after orthodontic treatment. This can be managed at home by taking pain relief such as Tylenol or Advil. Always take medication as described on the packaging and never take medication if you are unsure on whether it is suitable.

If you are experiencing discomfort of your gums or general soreness inside your mouth a saltwater rinse can also help to reduce the pain. Mix 1 teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water and rinse your mouth thoroughly, once you have rinsed your mouth for 20-30 seconds, spit the saltwater out.

Mouth Sores
Food Caught Between Teeth

Food caught Between Teeth

If you have found food caught between your teeth you can try:

  • Rinsing your mouth with water or warm saltwater which should dislodge any food
  • If rinsing your mouth has not dislodged the food, using floss may resolve the issue. Dental floss is available from most retailers and is designed to remove debris from between your teeth.
  • Brushing your teeth thoroughly can help to remove any unwanted food that has got caught in your teeth or braces.
  • A waterpik type device (water flosser) works well

Loose Ligatures

Ligatures are the tiny rubber bands or small wires that hold the brace wires to the brackets. If a ligature has come loose or come off this can be put back in place by using a pair of sterile tweezers.

If the ligature is loose and cannot be put back into place, leave it off or remove it and contact us to arrange an appointment.

Occasionally ligatures may stick out, but will not be loose, these can be gently pushed back using a Q Tip which should resolve the issue.

Irritation of Lips or cheeks

Irritation of the lips and cheeks can happen. The use of a warm saltwater rinse can reduce irritation and help with the pain.

If the irritation is caused by your braces, applying wax from your orthodontic kit, to the brace where the irritation is occurring can reduce the discomfort and stop your lips or cheeks from becoming more inflamed.

Protruding Wire

Occasionally a wire from your braces may become loose and
cause irritation or discomfort. This can be managed at home until you can book
a regular appointment.

To reduce discomfort, apply a small amount of wax over the

It may be possible to gently push the wire so that it is
flat against your teeth. This can be done by using a Q Tip and gently pushing
the wire so that it is no longer protruding. You can then contact us to make an
appointment to have this repaired.

If the wire continues to cause irritation and the above
methods have not helped, as a last resort the wire can be clipped. If you need
to clip the wire, use tissue or gauze around the area to prevent accidental
swallowing of the wire and use a pair of sharp clippers to remove the wire. You
may need to then apply wax to the area to prevent further irritation.

If you have cut a protruding wire, please contact us to
arrange an appointment to replace it.

Protruding Wire
Loos Brackets, Wires or Bands

Loose Brackets, Wires or Bands

Braces are made up of quite a few components and occasionally these may become loose. There are several ways to manage this at home until you can make an appointment to see us.


If your bracket has come loose and is uncomfortable or hurting you, you should contact us to arrange an appointment.

The best way to prevent your brackets from becoming loose is to avoid hard, crunchy foods, as advised by your orthodontist, and wear a sports mouth guard while undertaking sporting activities.


If a wire on your braces has come lose you may be able to use a pair of tweezers, or your finger, to gently put it back into place while you wait for an orthodontist appointment.

If the wire is irritating your mouth and cannot be put it back into place, use an eraser at the end of a pencil to push the protruding wire flat against your teeth to reduce irritation.

Sometimes a wire or bracket may become loose but will not cause an issue. If this is the case and you are experiencing no discomfort, leave the wire alone and contact us to arrange an appointment.

Piece of appliance is swallowed

It is exceedingly rare, but occasionally a piece of your brace or appliance may be swallowed. If this is the case, you should remain calm.

In most instances the piece will cause no harm and your body will pass it naturally, but should you experience any difficulty breathing then you should seek medical attention immediately.

If you have any concerns after swallowing a piece of your appliance or brace, please contact us and we will advise you on the most appropriate course of action.

Sports Emergencies

Sports Emergencies

Accidents can occur when undertaking sporting activities. If you wear braces and would like to play sports, you should ensure that you wear a sports mouth guard to reduce the chance of oral injury to yourself and damage to your brace.

If you have an accident and find that the tissue of your mouth has gotten caught in your braces, you should contact us immediately.

If your bracket is loose or your teeth, gum or lips are damaged, or any part of the brace is protruding into the mouth, please contact us immediately. Do not attempt to remove any parts of the brace if they are protruding into the tissues of your mouth.

Loose, Tight or Broken Retainers

You may find that your retainer has become loose or broken.

If you have wire retainer, it can be tightened by your orthodontist, you just need to call and schedule an appointment.

If you have a clear plastic retainer, it may feel tight if you do not wear it as you should. You should always wear your retainer as described by your orthodontist but if it has become loose due to the gums shrinking back, you may need another check-up and should contact us to arrange an appointment.

Occasionally a new tooth erupting may cause the retainer to no longer fit, you will need to contact us to arrange an appointment and get it adjusted or a replacement retainer.

You may clean your retainer using a toothbrush and toothpaste if you wish, it will not cause damage to the retainer but may scratch the surface.



If you have any concerns, or the home treatments have not helped, you can contact us at any time to arrange an appointment.

Schedule Emergency Appointment