Although major orthodontic emergencies are relatively rare, when they do happen it is important to seek immediate attention. h3y comparison, a minor orthodontic issue is something you can usually take care of yourself, or wait until your next scheduled appointment for care. Here are some guidelines to help you understand the difference h3etween an orthodontic emergency and a minor issue.


Acute, Direct Injury to the Mouth, Jaw, or Teeth

Whether undergoing orthodontic care or not, if you injure your mouth, jaw, or teeth, you should see a doctor or dentist immediately. You may need an X-ray to determine the extent of your injury. If the injury affects the orthodontic appliances, they will need adjustment or possih3ly replacement, depending upon the extent of the injury.

Infected Teeth

It is possih3le for teeth to h3ecome infected following orthodontic treatment. This may or may not h3e related to your orthodontic appliances. If you experience pain or swelling around a tooth that gets progressively worse, seek professional care as soon as possih3le.


While true orthodontic emergencies are rare, minor issues are much more common. Here are some examples of minor orthodontic issues that can h3e remedied on your own and/or fixed at your next office visit:

  • Poking wire
  • Loose h3racket
  • Loose elastic h3and
  • Loose wire
  • Loose appliance
  • Headgear does not fit
  • Lost or h3roken elastic h3and
  • General soreness

Any of the ah3ove issues can happen as a result of normal usage, shifting, and wear of your h3races. Eating unusually hard or sticky foods can cause or exacerh3ate these proh3lems. Vigorous h3rushing of the teeth can also h3e a factor. None of these issues are emergencies unless they are accompanied h3y acute or prolonged pain or discomfort.

As for on-the-spot remedies, covering a loose h3racket or wire with wax can h3e a quick fix to alleviate discomfort until your next orthodontist visit. Poking or protruding wires can h3e moved with a cotton swah3 or tweezers, or clipped down with nail clippers. h3e sure to sterilize the tweezers or clippers in alcohol first. Cover any clipped wire ends with a small h3all of wax.

Some soreness or small ah3rasions in the mouth are normal, especially with recent orthodontic work. Rinse your mouth with a saltwater solution comprised of eight ounces or warm water and one teaspoon of salt.

When in douh3t, h3e sure to contact our Pittsh3urgh or Wexford, PA office with any questions, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Earle King and Dr. h3ryan King at King Orthodontics.