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What's Included In An Orthodontic Emergency?

Orthodontic emergencies are needed when pain, swelling or bleeding becomes unbearable. This occurs when part of an orthodontic device becomes broken or detached. Learn more about which problems would create an orthodontic emergency.

Loosened Parts

On a fixed or removable orthodontic appliance, the wires may loosen and protrude into the skin, causing irritation. The orthodontist can re-adjust the screws using pliers or re-tighten the wires. In general, patients should contact their orthodontist and try not to remove or repair the detached part themselves.

Broken Parts

Some wires or bands break off if the person bites down too hard or experiences trauma to the mouth. The orthodontist can reattach the parts immediately or insert orthodontic separators between the teeth at their next appointment. No one should continue to wear a broken device, whether it’s fixed or removable.


The protruding wires or bands may cause skin irritations. To deal with the pain, the patient may be prescribed an over-the-counter pain relief medication. The orthodontist may apply a relief wax on the skin or damaged parts of the appliance.


Some people are allergic to the parts that make up orthodontic devices. Some are allergic to nickel or chromium and have hypersensitive immune responses upon contact. Others are allergic to the resin-based adhesives. An orthodontist can remove the appliance immediately and schedule an appointment to install a new one.

Airway Blockages

In the most severe cases, the patient’s airway is obstructed by the detached part of an orthodontic appliance. An object that is stuck inside of the patient will cause stomach pain or discomfort. If an orthodontist cannot help, a general doctor or surgeon is needed.


During an emergency, the orthodontist may recommend ways to prevent an accident from occurring again. Patients should avoid eating hard or sticky foods too often. Brushing teeth too harshly is another cause of breakage to avoid.

The field of orthodontics has undergone significant improvements over time. There are safer, more comfortable devices available to today’s patients. However, accidents and injuries that involve orthodontic appliances still occur. At Speaks Orthodontics, our staff is highly trained to handle all types of orthodontic emergencies. Contact our office to learn more about our services.