True orthodontic emergencies are very rare and most problems that are encountered during braces can be handled from the comfort of your home.  Remember though that we are here for you in the unlikely event that you have one or feel like you have a problem that can’t be handled from home.  Please call our office at 865-312-6264, use our text line at 865-272-6092 or even send us a message over Facebook Here are some common issues and how to manage them yourself.

Check out our YouTube channel for videos on the most common fixes for problems while in braces.

Sore Teeth

Most of the time if soreness occurs it’s only for the first couple days after your appointment and is usually the worst during eating.  Sticking to soft foods can really help. Good meals and snacks include pasta, eggs, rice, oatmeal, yogurt, smoothies and of course Ice Cream.

Another way to help with the initial soreness is with chewing gum.  Stick with sugarless gum and nothing with a hard outer-shell.  Only use a small piece and try not to squeeze it between your braces and wires.  Gum doesn’t break braces but it can pull the first flexible wires out of the back braces if you are not careful.  Some gum can stick to braces, I would recommend Trident and any of the minty flavors.

If these methods just aren’t cutting it either Tylenol (aka Acetaminophen) can also help. Only take these medications if it doesn’t interfere with additional medications you may be taking and whenever there is a question about starting a medication or medication interactions please consult your doctor.

Pokey Wire

This usually happens after a bracket is broken or if a wire is pulled out of a back bracket.  If the wire is flexible it can be held with a pair of tweezers (after they have been sterilized with rubbing alcohol) and carefully placed back into the bracket.  If this doesn’t work a piece of wax or cotton can be used to cover the end of the wire.   If there is continued irritation, the wire may be able to be cut with nail clippers or small sharp scissors (once they have also been sterilized) closest to the bracket it is still tied to.

Loose Bracket

Loose brackets usually result from eating those hard and crunchy foods you thought you could get away with.  Most of the time the brackets will stay on the wire but may move up and down or side-to-side.  If they are irritating lips and cheeks wax can help stabilize them until they can be fixed.  Call our office the next business day so we can advise you if an immediate repair is needed or you can wait till your next scheduled visit.


Braces are not a smooth as your natural teeth and just like a new pair of shoes may take a little time to break in.  Your mouth will eventually toughen up and you will get used to the rubbing.  If anything gets too bad, that is what the wax if for.  It’s like our Band-Aids for braces.  Break off a small piece and squish it on whatever is rubbing you.  Wax always sticks better if you can dry if the area is somewhat dry.  It’ll probably come off when you eat but won’t hurt you and just replace as needed.  Warm salt water rinses can also help to soothe a sore mouth.  To make use a pinch of salt (1oz) in a glass of warm water (8 oz).  We also recommend Colgate Peroxyl Rinse if the irritations get too bad, which will also help speed healing.

Lost Separator

Separators are used to push teeth apart to make room for orthodontic appliances such as expanders.  If one the these comes out from between the teeth, please call the office the next business day so we can advise you if it needs to be replaced.

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