What to do if Your Braces Break

It’s scary to be at home, school, or sports practice and feel a part of your braces loosen or even fall completely off your tooth, but it’s a more common occurrence than you may think.. The good news is that most of these incidents are actually minor and easily fixed by your orthodontist. Here are a few general rules and tips for how to handle these situations in the moment and until you can get into the office for a visit. 


Orthodontic Emergencies

Typically, braces emergencies arise when a wire or rubber band falls out of place. These issues are minor and can be easily fixed by your orthodontist. A less common emergency is when a bracket comes loose and falls out. If you can feel a loose bracket that hasn’t fallen out, it’s best to leave it held in by the surrounding wires and call your orthodontist. But, if the bracket has fallen out already, keep it in a safe space and take it with you to the orthodontist. Schedule an appointment as soon as you can to fix this! 


Handling Emergencies at Home

If any orthodontic emergencies occur while you’re at home your orthodontist is easily accessible. It’s important to make sure that you call and schedule an appointment to address any issues as soon as you can. While this shouldn’t cause panic or an emergency run to the office, fixing these emergencies  as soon as you can is imperative to successful treatment. This is especially true if you’re in any pain!

Between any incident and your appointment, you can use orthodontic wax to alleviate any pain the broken part of your braces caused. Over-the-counter painkillers are also good for temporary issues like a lesion or cut on your cheek from broken appliances. 


Handling Emergencies while Traveling

You don’t have to worry if something breaks while you’re away from home. In order to make the most of your travels, there are a few things you can do to make sure you’re comfortable and ready to go. When you aren’t at home it can be expensive to find an orthodontic specialist to deal with these minor emergencies. So, here are some small things to include in your packing list so that it’s not necessary. 



If any sores or particularly painful cuts develop away from home, be sure to buy or pack some over-the-counter topical numbing gel. Orajel or Orabase help to numb the area until you get back home.



Orthodontic wax is important to travel with. Most minor pain and exposed sharp edges can be quickly neutralized by some orthodontic wax. If you run out or happen to forget your wax, most pharmacies carry replacement wax, and if you can’t find any, sugar-free gum works in a pinch. 


A Pencil with an Eraser

For loose wires, use a pencil with an eraser to push the displaced segment flush with your teeth before placing any wax. If wax doesn’t work at all, sterilized nail clippers or a wire cutting tool can be used to clip down the detached wire. Consult your orthodontist’s emergency line before cutting any loose wires!

If a true orthodontic emergency occurs while you are away you can contact the local dental society for orthodontic recommendations. Be sure to look at reviews and vet the care before proceeding. As always in a true emergency, call 911.