Handling Braces Problems

Braces are very safe and a true orthodontic emergency is extremely rare. However, occasionally, minor issues can occur that affect your comfort. If you do experience a problem, call our office and we’ll get you in for a repair appointment, if necessary. There are also steps you can take at home to troubleshoot the issue in the meantime. Read on to learn more and if you have any questions or problems, call our Richmond orthodontics office at (804) 282-0505 or text us at (804) 577-1171.

Soreness or Discomfort

When you first get your braces put on and after adjustments, your teeth might feel a little sore. Every patient will have a different degree of sensitivity. This discomfort is normal and means the teeth are moving. It usually only lasts a few days. To alleviate it, you can take an over-the-counter pain reliever (whatever you’d take for a headache). If the pain becomes severe or lasts more than a few days, please let us know. Visit our braces FAQ for common braces questions.


Brackets can irritate the inside of your cheeks when you’re first getting used to them. Your mouth will toughen up and the irritation will go away. We’ll provide you with wax when you get your braces put on. Dry the area of your braces that’s bothering you and then place some of the wax on it. If you’re prone to ulcers in your mouth, you can also use wax on your braces to decrease irritation.

Broken Brackets or Loose Wires

While a broken bracket or loose wire not causing discomfort is not an emergency, give us a call anyway to let us know so that we can fix your appliance or properly schedule your next appointment. If you are experiencing discomfort and you’re not able to see us right away, place wax over your broken bracket to hold it in place. If an archwire is poking you in the back of the mouth, you can cover it with wax until we can trim it.

Unmanageable Pain, Facial Swelling or Injury

If you’ve sustained an injury to the head, face or mouth, seek immediate help from an urgent care or emergency room. For infection, swelling of the gums or trauma to a tooth, call your regular general dentist right away. Your general dentist is trained to handle an abscess or a fractured, chipped or broken tooth. Once they’ve treated you, call us so we can make any necessary repairs to your orthodontic emergency. Your orthodontic treatment plan may need to be adjusted once your tooth is fixed.


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