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Emergencies: What to do


If you need immediate help during office hours please call our office at (908) 273-7450.

After hours emergencies for braces should be directed at Dr. Andrew at (908) 531-7800

or Dr. David at (973) 716-0916.

Typical emergencies and how to solve them:

Loose or Poking Archwires:

  • If a wire causes irritation:

  • Push wire away from the area using the eraser end of a pencil or a Q-tip. If wire cannot be tucked away, cover the end of the wire with a small piece of wax or a cotton ball until you can see us for an adjustment.

  • If the main wire has come out of the tube on the back tooth:

  • Attempt to reinsert the wire with a pair of needle-nose pliers or tweezers. If the wire is sticking you, place a piece of wax over the area.

  • As a last resort, if you cannot come into our office, the wire can be cut with a small wire cutter or fingernail clipper close to the back of the last brace.

Loose Brackets or Bands:

  • If a bracket becomes loose:

  • It usually remains connected to the main wire by a little colored rubber ring or a small steel ligature tie. Tweezers can be used to reposition the brace if it flips around the wire and becomes a source of irritation.

  • Call our office and inform us of the problem. If a piece of your braces breaks, save the piece and schedule a repair visit.

Lost Separators:

  • In case a rubber spacer or separator falls out:

  • Call our office so that we can arrange to replace it for you. If it happens a day before your appointment to put on braces or bands, you do not need to do anything.

If You Swallow Something:

  • Remain calm!

  • It will usually go into the stomach and pass out of the body in a bowel movement.

  • However, if you experience difficulty breathing, you should seek immediate medical attention. X-rays will be taken to determine the location of the swallowed piece.

Broken Retainer:

  • If a retainer cracks or breaks:

  • Remove the retainer from your mouth and bring all the pieces to our office for evaluation.

Sore Teeth or Sore Gums:

  • Take ibuprofen (Motrin/Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions if your teeth are sore after your appointment.


  • Rinsing your mouth with warm water and half a teaspoon of salt can also be soothing.

  • If your teeth get sore suddenly in the middle of the month, give us a call because it is unusual for the teeth to get sore several weeks after your last office visit.

  • If food becomes stuck between your teeth:

  • Use dental floss or a proxy brush to dislodge food.

  • If you cut your gums, tongue, or the inside of your cheek:

  • Apply finger pressure to the bleeding site for several minutes. In the extremely unlikely event the bleeding doesn’t stop, call our office immediately!

  • Minor irritations and canker sores will heal much more quickly if you apply Zylactin or Orabase according to the manufacturer’s directions.

  • You can purchase it over the counter at most pharmacies and convenience stores.

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