Orthodontic Emergencies

Insoft & Hurst Orthodontics is proud to be an emergency orthodontist near you in St. Petersburg and Seminole, FL!

Orthodontic emergencies are rare, but they happen – and our team is here for you if you experience one. Our goal is to see you as soon as possible, so we can remedy the situation and continue your journey to a beautiful new smile.

Fortunately, most situations can be resolved with orthodontic wax and a visit to our office.

What is considered an orthodontic emergency?

  • If a colored tie comes off your braces it is NOT an orthodontic emergency
  • Archwire pops out of place
  • Loose or broken braces will sometimes necessitate an extra visit, but our experienced team will speak with you to determine that.
  • Pain caused by poking wires
  • Broken or misplaced appliance
  • Lost or broken Invisalign aligners
  • Extreme tooth pain
If you experience a true emergency that is not a common orthodontic emergency, we urge you to visit the emergency room immediately. Do not wait for an emergency orthodontist appointment!

How to Handle an Orthodontic Emergency

If you experience one of these situations, just give us a call as soon as possible and we’ll schedule an emergency orthodontic appointment. We want to get you taken care of as soon as possible, because your comfort and safety are our top priorities.

We have an experienced, licensed assistant on call after hours to handle our patients’ after hour needs! Just call our office and you’ll be prompted to follow instructions for an emergency.

In the meantime, we have tips to make you more comfortable until you can visit us.

Poking Wires or Metal Pieces

How to fix a poking wire on braces: If your braces wire pops out of place or you have something bothering you, you can place some orthodontic wax on it. Orthodontic wax (also called dental wax) can be placed over the poking wire or whatever may be bothering you, to serve as a temporary cushion until you’re able to visit us. 

If a wire pops out of place, try to push the wire back into the bracket. Use sterilized tweezers or a clean pencil eraser to push the wire back into the bracket. Or you can try to clip the wire off, if it is poking out the back,  with a clean pair of nail clippers, then cover the end of the wire with ortho wax.

Loose or Floating Bracket on Braces

If your braces bracket becomes loose and detaches from your tooth entirely, try to place it in a ziploc bag. If you can’t find the bracket, that’s okay. Just give us a call, and your orthodontist will advise you on the best plan of action moving forward.

If you have a floating bracket on your braces and it’s still attached to your wire, be extra careful not to swallow the bracket. Take some orthodontic wax, and place it over the floating bracket to temporarily attach it back to the tooth. This way, the bracket won’t bother your cheeks and you’re less likely to swallow the bracket

If you do happen to swallow your braces bracket, don’t panic. It happens!

The swallowed bracket will likely go straight to your stomach with the rest of your food, and pass naturally. If you experience a severe stomach ache, breathing problems, or any unusual symptoms, go to the emergency room immediately.

How long can you go with a loose bracket?
While a loose bracket is not an urgent situation, it does require your orthodontist’s attention as soon as possible. In other words, you don’t need to drop everything and hightail it to our office, but you should make it a priority to see us within the week! Sometimes we can determine if it is necessary to replace it soon or at your next visit. We don’t want a loose bracket to hinder your treatment progress.

Tooth Pain or Soreness

It’s normal for you to experience some minor soreness or tooth wiggling while you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment. Over-the-counter pain relievers, like Tylenol® or Advil®, can help to alleviate the soreness.

Opt for a soft food diet during your first week with braces, to help minimize the soreness. See our Life With Braces tips for soft food ideas!

You can also gargle some salt water for relief. Mix one teaspoon of salt into eight ounces of lukewarm water. Gargle the solution for at least 30 seconds, then spit it out and repeat until the cup is empty. Salt water mix is a safe, natural solution that helps to disinfect the mouth and ease inflammation.

If you experience persistent pain in your mouth, and pain relievers and saltwater rinses aren’t helping, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We want to ensure that your teeth and gums are healthy, and that your treatment is on the right track.

Broken or Missing Appliance

If you happen to break your retainer, Invisalign clear aligners, or another appliance, please do not put the appliance back in your mouth. Broken appliances can damage your mouth or damage your braces, and shouldn’t be forced back into position. 

Put your broken appliance in a ziploc bag and bring it with you to your appointment. If you lost your retainer or clear aligners, please give us a call and we’ll schedule the earliest appointment with you. We want to replace the appliance before your teeth move and your results are compromised!

Have questions about how to handle an orthodontic emergency?

We’re here to answer your questions! If you’re experiencing a minor or major braces emergency, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us! When it comes to orthodontic emergencies, our first goal is to relieve any discomfort you’re experiencing before we get you back on track for your smile journey.

Dr. Insoft, Dr. Hurst and our experienced team are here to help guide you throughout your treatment process, from your first visit to your last visit – and any emergency in between!

If you’re looking for a top orthodontist in Seminole or St. Petersburg FL, we’d love to meet you! Request a complimentary exam for you or your child today.