What To Do in Case of an Orthodontic Emergency?

While at home during this temporary closure, please watch the following videos on what to do if you have any emergencies. Please call us with any questions before attempting any of this at home.

Novato office:  415-897-3141      Santa Rosa office: 707-537-1023

Loose bracket:

A loose or broken bracket is not an orthodontic emergency. If your appointment is within 2 weeks the repair can be done at your scheduled appointment. Using wax can help keep a loose bracket in place until a repair appointment can be made. Please keep in mind that braces are repaired during the quieter times in the office (9am – 11:30am).

Poking wire:

There are three options for poking wires: Place wax over the poking wire, clip the wire using sterilized nail clippers (or any small clipper) or try to move the archwire towards the opposite side. When clipping a wire be sure to get as close to the bracket as possible. A wire may shift making one side shorter while the other is longer if this happens use sterilized tweezers to grab the wire and gently move in the opposite direction of your pokey wire. If these options do not help please call us and we will clip the wire to make you more comfortable. Poking wires are very common as the teeth move.

Loose Expander:

If an expander or Herbst appliance comes out on one side you can try to put the expander back in following the directions below. If you are unable to engage the appliance you can take the wire out from the other side to completely remove the expander. If you have removed the expander please save it to bring in on your next appointment. While it is not urgent to replace the appliance, call the office for a repair appointment if your scheduled appointment is weeks away. Repair appointments are scheduled during the quieter times in the office (9am – 11:30am).

Watch the Fixing A Loose Expander videos below

Loose retainer wire:

If your bonded retainer wire becomes loose, please contact our office for a repair appointment. Repair appointments are scheduled during quieter times in the office (9am – 11:30am).


If you have a traumatic injury resulting in cuts to your lips or gums or if you have a loose tooth, please contact our office immediately. If you have broken any part of a tooth, you will need to contact your family dentist. If you suspect that your jaw has been injured or notice that your teeth have been moved by the accident, you may also need to be seen by an oral surgeon.

Sore spot on the cheek:

When you first receive your braces or your orthodontic appliance, sore spots may develop on your cheeks. The cheeks will become accustomed to your appliance after a short while. To protect your cheek, place wax on the offending bracket, wire or appliance. During non-sleeping hours, cotton rolls can be placed between the appliance and your cheek to provide relief. Rinsing with warm salt water several times a day is very soothing to your gum and cheek tissues. Please check your goodie bag for a small tube of Brace Relief. Brace Relief is an oral antiseptic and will help to relieve mouth pain. If you do not have this at home you can find oral antiseptics and wax in the hygiene area of your local grocery store or pharmacy or we will be happy to supply you with more on our next working day.


You may take Tylenol as you would for a headache or similar discomfort. Soreness can be expected for 3-5 days after an adjustment. Good tooth brushing, warm salt water rinses several times a day will help alleviate the pain and help your mouth feel back to normal much more quickly. Popsicles can help with inflammation and soreness with expanders.