Procedures for common orthodontic emergencies

At Haas Orthodontic Arts in Akron, we understand that sometimes orthodontic emergencies occur. Here are the steps you should follow if any of these common emergencies arise.


Some mild pain is normal following the placement or adjustment of braces. This typically lasts 1 to 3 days. Generally, medication to relieve discomfort is not needed. However, there may be times when certain adjustments on orthodontic appliances cause more than the usual discomfort and medication may be helpful. If that occurs, we recommend 400-800 mg of ibuprofen 3 times per day. If you have any medication allergies or questions, consult your doctor. If pain persists beyond 3 days, call our Akron/Canton, Cuyahoga Falls, or Stow office for an appointment.

Loose brackets

With braces, brackets and bands are attached to the teeth with adhesives or cements. With enough force, these adhesive materials can break, causing a band or bracket to become loose. If the loose bracket is not causing any pain or discomfort, you can wait until your next regularly scheduled appointment to have it addressed. If it is causing pain or if you have any questions, please call or contact one of our four offices.

Shifting or broken arch wires

The arch wires are highly resistant to breakage, but if they flex enough, they can shift or break. If there is no pain or discomfort when this occurs, call the office at your convenience to schedule an appointment for a replacement. If the arch breaks or shifts and is causing pain, call the office for an immediate appointment. If a break or shift occurs during non-business hours, you can try fixing the wire by:

  • Tucking it in with a non-sharp object such as a pencil eraser.
  • Placing orthodontic wax (available at all of our offices and most drug stores) over the rough area. If you don’t have wax, you can use sugarless chewing gum.

If neither of these measures is effective, call one of the doctors at home.

Discomfort associated with an expansion appliance

In certain orthodontic cases, an expansion appliance may be used. If you are experiencing pain or excessive pressure, stop turning the appliance and call our office. If the discomfort persists and you cannot get an immediate appointment, you can reverse the turning process by inserting your expansion key in the back and turning it forward. This can often alleviate the problem until we can evaluate it. If you are having problems and need to speak with a doctor during non-business hours, call one of the doctors at home.

Lost appliances

If you lose your night brace, elastics or orthodontic retainer, call the office to arrange for a replacement. There may be a charge for replacement appliances.