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Orthodontic Emergencies

True orthodontic emergencies are rare, but when they occur Dr. Kuhlberg is always available to help. If you experience severe pain or develop pain from a broken appliance please contact us.If the office is closed, Dr. Kuhlberg can be reached on his personal phone by listening to the office voice recording.

It may come as a surprise that many problems such as broken brackets, loose bands, pokey wires, bent wires and soreness after an adjustment can be temporarily solved at home until you can schedule an appointment. After alleviating any discomfort, it is still very important to come to the office so that we can address the problem. Allowing your braces to remain damaged can result in extended treatment times and unwanted tooth movements. Even if you have a routine checkup scheduled, please notify us if you need an appliance repaired to ensure that we have enough time to attend to it.

Preventing Emergencies

It is recommended that patients with braces wear a mouth guard when participating in sports. This helps prevent traumatic injuries to the mouth as well as broken brackets or wires. We also recommend avoiding foods that are crunchy, hard, or sticky to prevent damaging your braces.

Loose Brackets or Bands

If your bracket or band is still attached to the wire, you should leave it in place and put wax on it. If the bracket or band comes off entirely, place it in a plastic bag to bring with you to the office.

Poking Wire

Using a pencil eraser, push the poking wire down or place wax on it to so that it no longer is poking.  If the wire has slid to one side, you may use a pair of tweezers or needle nosed pliers to shift it back in place.

Loose or Bent Wires

Using a pair of tweezers or needle-nosed pliers, try to put the wire back into place. It is okay to use a piece of floss to secure the wire. Tie the floss around the bracket in place of the missing colored o-ring. If you cannot put the wire into a comfortable position, and covering the end of the wire with wax does not help you may clip the wire behind the last tooth to which it is securely fastened with a small, clean fingernail clipper as a last resort. If the end of the wire is still sharp, place wax on it.

Loose Appliances

If the appliance is loose but still fits on the teeth this is O.K. Keep the appliance in the mouth and call the office to have it re-cemented. If the appliance is poking you, place wax on that part of the appliance.

General Soreness

After your braces go on, or following an adjustment your teeth and mouth may feel sore for three to five days. Try and stay busy to keep your mind off of your braces. Soft foods and over the counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen (as directed) can also help reduce any discomfort.

Your lips, cheeks and tongue may also become irritated for up to two weeks as they adjust to the surface of the braces. If you develop ulcerations or sore spots, this can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a warm salt water rinse. Dissolve one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of warm water and swish. Additionally, you may find relief by placing wax on parts of your braces that are rubbing and using an over the counter topical anesthetic such as Orabase® on sore spots. If the tenderness is severe, take acetaminophen or ibuprofen(as directed) or whatever you normally would use for a headache.


If you experience a traumatic injury to the face or mouth, urgent care may be necessary. Call our office immediately. After regular business hours, our answering service will provide you with Dr. Kuhlberg or Dr. Murphy’s cell phone number.

MessageOur Staff

Very friendly warm and compassionate. They educated my son on how to care for his braces, what foods to avoid, how to clean and most of all, they are there even during any emergency including weekends. I highly recommend this Orthodontic practice to anyone who want a personal, friendly one on one relationship with their doctor. Thu M.

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