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Troubleshooting: What to do if…

Little emergencies can be solved at home. With these tools and supplies on hand, you can handle the most common Orthodontic Emergencies:

  • Orthodontic wax

  • Dental Floss and Piksters (Interproximal Brushes)

  • Tweezers

  • Tea Spoon

  • Nail Clippers

  • Scissors

  • Non-Prescription Pain Relief Tablets

  • Healing Paste with Topical Anaesthetic (Example: Brace Relief)

The following is a list of Orthodontic Emergencies and their treatment; only severe emergencies will require you to see the Orthodontist:


Food is stuck in your braces:

This can be a little uncomfortable, please make use of the initially supplied piksters (interproximal brushes) or a piece of dental floss to remove anything caught in-between the braces and teeth.


Lost Coloured/Clear Module or Ligature:

The small modules or fine wire ligatures are holding the wire onto the brackets. If one is lost, please call our clinic and you will be advised on how soon you should come in for a check-up.


Loose Module or Ligature:

If a module or steel ligature is loose, you may be able to put it back in place using clean tweezers. If the wire ligature is sticking out into the lip or cheek but is not loose, you may bend it back down by using either tweezers or the end of a tea spoon.


Discomfort and Pain:

It is quite normal to have a certain level of discomfort 3-5 Days after braces/aligners/removable appliances are inserted. After an adjustment, this period of discomfort may last for 1-2 days. At times, it can make eating uncomfortable. Discomfort is normal and temporary, soft foods will be preferred to chewy. Common pain relief tablets based on Paracetamol or Ibuprofen, or a combination of both, can be effective, especially at night. Ask your doctor if you are suitable for such painkillers.


Braces and aligners can irritate your soft tissues and worsen or exacerbate episodes of mouth ulcers. These can appear around the cheeks, lips, and tongue. Instant relief may be achieved by applying a small amount of wax to the braces/aligner directly opposing the ulcer. A healing paste with topical anaesthetic (such as “brace relief” or a pharmacy brand equivalent) may be applied directly to the ulcerated soft tissue.

Irritation to Soft Tissues:

New braces and aligners can scratch and irritate the soft tissues around your mouth, especially when eating. A small amount of wax can cover edges and hooks and protect your soft tissues. Take a small piece and roll it into a ball the size of a pea, it should become a little “sticky.” Dry the area a best as you can and squeeze the wax over the area of the braces/aligner causing irritation. Accidentally ingested wax is harmless.


“Spikey Wire”:

Occasionally, the end of a wire will work itself out at the back of your braces and cause irritation to your cheek. This is quite common when your teeth are straightening. Try to push the wire into a more comfortable position and cover it with wax. As a last resort, in a situation where the wire is extremely bothersome and you cannot see the Orthodontist within the next 2-3 days, you may clip the wire by using a pair of sharp clippers or nail scissors. Please call the clinic and we will advise you as to how soon you should be seen.


Lost Bracket, Wire, or Band:

Brackets may occasionally debond if you have eaten something too hard, sticky, chewy, crunchy, or have had impact to your face. If a loose bracket has rotated along the wire and is sticking out, try to rotate it back to position using clean tweezers. Please call the clinic and advise whether an impact to your face has damaged your braces and we will advise how soon you should be seen.

*WARNING: Any dental or surgical procedure carries risks which also may depend on your general health. This will be discussed with you prior to any dental intervention. 

Before proceeding you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner such as your dentist or your doctor.

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