orthodontic emergencies Lafayette

You might be surprised to learn that you may be able to solve many problems yourself temporarily until you can get to our office in Lafayette.

True orthodontic emergencies are rare, but when they occur we are available to you. As a general rule, you should call our office when you experience severe pain or have a painful appliance problem you can’t take care of yourself. We’ll be able to schedule an appointment to resolve the problem.

Please do not hesitate to contact our office if you feel unable to handle a problem on your own, have questions, or need advice regarding discomfort with your orthodontic appliances in Lafayette.  For those times when you need our help outside of normal business hours, and it can’t wait until our next business day, you can get in touch with us by calling or texting our Balhoff Ortho On-Call number at (337) 889-6019.

At this number, you can directly reach one of our helpful team members.  If absolutely necessary, they will even make arrangements to meet you at our office!  As always, we’re here to help make your treatment with Balhoff Orthodontics as smooth as possible!

If there is a loose piece you can remove, put it in a plastic bag or envelope and bring it with you to your next appointment.

If your braces are poking you, put soft wax on the piece that’s sticking out. If the wire has slid to one side, you can pull it back to the other side with needle-nosed pliers, and replace it in the tube on the back tooth.

After alleviating your discomfort, it is very important that you still call our office as soon as possible to schedule a time to repair the problem. Allowing your appliance to remain damaged for an extended period of time may result in disruptions to your treatment plan.

GENERAL SORENESS - Orthodontic Emergencies Lafayette


When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth, and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. Stick to a soft diet until your teeth do not hurt to chew.

Irritated gums and other sore spots can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a warm salt-water mouthwash. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in eight ounces of warm water, and rinse your mouth vigorously.

An alternative (better tasting) mouthwash is the Healthy Gums Rinse by The Natural Dentist. Placing Orabase on the affected area may also help relieve discomfort; Orabase can be found in a pharmacy.

If the tenderness is severe, take Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain. Aspirin, Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), and Naproxen Sodium (Naprosyn, Anaprox) actually slow the tooth movement, so it is not advisable to use them frequently while wearing braces.

The lips, cheeks, and tongue may become irritated for one to two weeks as they learn a new posture and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can put wax on the braces to lessen this. We’ll show you how!

Headgear - Orthodontic Emergencies Lafayette


Sometimes discomfort is caused by not wearing the headgear as instructed by your orthodontist. Please refer to the instructions provided by Dr. Balhoff. If the facebow (metal piece) is bent, please call our office for assistance. The headgear should hurt less the more it’s worn, so be sure you get in the prescribed number of hours.

Loose Appliance - Orthodontic Emergencies Lafayette


If your appliance is poking you, place wax on the offending part.

Loose Bracket - Orthodontic Emergencies Lafayette


If your bracket or band is still attached to the wire, you should leave it in place and put wax on it if needed for comfort. If the bracket or band can be removed easily, place it in an envelope and save it to bring to your next appointment.

Loose Wire - Orthodontic Emergencies Lafayette


Using a pair of tweezers or needle-nosed pliers, try to put your wire back into place. It is okay to use a piece of floss to tie the wire into place: 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 with wax doesn’t help, as a last resort use a small fingernail clipper to clip the wire behind the last tooth to which it is securely fastened. If the end of the wire is still sharp, place wax on it.

Poking Wire - Orthodontic Emergencies Lafayette


Using a pencil eraser, push the poking wire down or place wax on it so it is no longer poking.

* PLEASE NOTE: Any tooth discomfort or soft tissue irritations that persist for MORE THAN TWO (2) WEEKS may indicate a more serious condition that warrants specific treatment by our office, your general dentist, and/or another dental specialist.  Please notify our office and/or your general dentist immediately if any such condition should persist.

Frequently Asked Questions

An orthodontic emergency is any such situation where a patient might face the danger of suffering direct damage to their teeth or orthodontic appliance. These situations can be as varied as the potential solutions that we can recommend, but they all have one thing in common: they are not life-threatening, which means you can calmly schedule a consultation with your orthodontist for a definitive fix and wait a couple of days to get everything solved.

Some of the most common orthodontic emergencies in Lafayette include the ones caused by dietary choices, contact sports, and mishaps during mealtimes. Broken or loose brackets are probably on top of the list because many patients with braces will forget that any hard piece of food can easily peel away metal braces from their teeth.

The first thing you should try doing is remaining calm. Please try to remember that orthodontic emergencies are not lethal in nature. They may cause discomfort but shouldn’t pose a threat to your overall health. After you’ve assessed what the emergency is, try calling your orthodontist’s office for more directions on how to perform any DIY solutions and set an appointment.

The best thing you can do is apply a temporary fix to reduce any discomfort. If a bracket breaks, which is a very hard thing to achieve on accident, your main focus should be to avoid additional complications caused by any choking hazards. If the bracket is loose, kindly slide the bracket toward the tooth it’s supposed to move and leave it there while you reach out to your orthodontist. Poking wires are easily fixed with the help of a blunt object or a pair of clippers.

Any situation where your orthodontic appliance might suffer damage and stay in need of repairs is considered an orthodontic emergency. Orthodontic emergencies include situations where you might have a loose metal bracket or a poking wire that could cause great discomfort. Ultimately, these situations are not detrimental to your overall health but can cause discomfort and will result in unwanted treatment delays if left untreated for too long.

The best thing you can do is pay close attention to your orthodontist’s recommendations regarding your dietary habits and dental care. Many orthodontic emergencies come as a result of poor choices about the food patients eat while wearing braces. Also, if you’re a patient who wears removable clear aligners, you should always carry their protective case with you to avoid misplacing them or losing them entirely during mealtimes.