Ortho Emergencies

In Case of Emergency

Real orthodontic emergencies are rare, but they can occasionally happen.

If it does, here are directions on how to handle an orthodontic emergency.

We’re Here to Help You

We’re here to help our patients in Newmarket, Aurora, Bradford, East Gwillimbury, and the surrounding areas. Listed below, read about orthodontic emergencies and their treatment solutions. You’ll find them in order of severity from least to most severe.

You only need to contact Dr. Miller for the most severe of emergencies.

Food Stuck In Your Teeth

This may feel awkward, but it’s not an emergency. Use dental floss for an easy fix.

First, tie a knot in the middle of the floss so you can get the food out from between your braces and your teeth.

Or, you can even try a toothpick or even an interproximal brush.

If Your Ligatures Come Off

Ligatures are the fine small wires or tiny rubber bands that hold your braces bracket to the wire.

If you have a rubber ligature pop off, try using sterile tweezers to place it back. If your ligature is made of wire, use sterilized tweezers to remove it.

If a wire ligature isn’t loose but is poking into your lip, use a pencil eraser or Q-tip to bend it back down to stop sticking into your lip. If you have one ligature break or pop off, you may have others do the same. Look at all your ligatures carefully and let the office know if any are broken or missing.

If you find that you have a lost wire or rubber ligature, inform us to hear your next steps.


You may feel some discomfort for several days after you have a braces adjustment.

This is normal and it’ll only last a short time. If it’s uncomfortable to eat, choose soft foods and use warm salt water to rinse your mouth.

Sores In Your Mouth

If you do have a mouth sore, braces can rubbing against it can irritate the sore and make the discomfort worse.

You might see sores on your tongue, cheeks or lips. We understand this can be  really uncomfortable, but thankfully it’s not an emergency.

Apply a little topical anesthetic ointment (like Ora-Gel or Orabase) right on the sore with a Q-tip, and place orthodontic wax over any sharp spots to make things feel more smooth and stop the irritation. You may continue this as much as you need. After a few days you should feel better. Most mouth sores hurt the worst for the first few days and then gradually start to improve. Generally by the end of the first week it should be better.

Irritation On Your Cheeks or Lips

If your new braces irritate your cheeks, mouth or lips while you eat, this is normal.

You can use wax to create a helpful buffer between your mouth and your braces.

Take some non-medicinal relief wax and pinch off a little bit. Roll the wax into a pea-size ball and then flatten it. Put the wax over the irritated area in your mouth and cover it completely.

Eating will be more comfortable now. The wax won’t harm you, so it’s fine if you swallow it accidentally.

Mouth Irritation from a Protruding Wire

You may experience mouth irritation from a wire that’s come off and poking out. Push the wire against the tooth by flattening it with a pencil eraser or a Q-tip.

If you can’t move the wire to a place that feels comfortable, try covering it with wax (as described above in Irritation On Your Cheeks or Lips).

Tell our office about the issue. If you cannot see us in the near future, you can clip the wire yourself only as a last resort.

It’s crucial that you fold gauze or tissue around the area while you snip the wire to make sure you don’t accidentally swallow it.

Snip off the wire using sharp clippers. You can make the irritated area more comfortable by using relief wax.

Loose Bands, Wires or Brackets

Call Dr. Miller for the next steps if your braces come loose at all.

Your braces brackets are fixed to your teeth with a special glue and will be centered on the tooth. It is possible to knock them off. This can happen if you strike the bracket at play, or eat one of the crunchy or hard foods you’re supposed to avoid.

If you play sports, please wear a mouthguard that will protect your braces.

If your bracket is loose and is sticking into your mouth after rotated on its wire, there is a temporary solution. Only do this if you cannot schedule a visit to come into our office, and be careful you don’t swallow any piece of your braces.

Place your bracket back in its position by first sterilizing tweezers. Then, try sliding your bracket along the wire until it’s centered between two of the teeth.

Swallowing Any Part of Your Appliance

This probably will never happen, but if it does, don’t panic.

If it’s hard to breathe or you can’t stop coughing, it’s possible you’ve inhaled a piece of your appliance into your lungs or airway.

If you can see the appliance piece, it’s ok to carefully try removing it. Please DO NOT try if you think you might harm yourself.

If you can’t see the appliance piece and you think it’s possible you’ve inhaled it, immediately call our office.