At Burke and Beckstrom, we understand that orthodontic treatment is a journey, and sometimes unexpected issues happen. That’s why we are here to help! Let’s walk through some of the most common problems that occur and what to do if something goes wrong. Your smile is our top priority, and we want to be sure that you have the knowledge to handle any hiccups that may come your way. Let’s dive in! 

Common Orthodontic Emergencies

  1. Broken or Loose Braces: Picture this: You’re enjoying a delicious meal when suddenly, you feel something in your mouth snap. Don’t panic! It’s not uncommon for brackets or wires to brake or come loose. If this happens, here’s what you should do: Gently remove any loose or broken parts that may be causing discomfort. If a wire is sticking out, use wax or a small cotton ball to cover it temporarily, and give us a call! We’ll schedule an appointment to get it all taken care of. The appointment will only take a few minutes, and you’ll be on your way. 
  2. Wires Poking or Irritating the Mouth: We know how irritating it can be when a wire starts poking your cheek or gums. To temporarily fix the problem, follow these steps: Apply orthodontic wax to the sharp end to prevent further irritation, and contact our office to schedule an appointment to snip the wire or properly repair it. 
  3. Discomfort or Pain: Orthodontic treatment can sometimes cause minor discomfort. However, if you experience persistent or intense pain, here are a few things to try: Rinse your mouth with warm saltwater to soothe discomfort or irritation. Take an over-the-counter pain reliever, and follow the recommended dosage. If the pain persists or worsens, don’t hesitate to contact our caring team for more recommendations or treatment. 
  4. Lost or Broken Retainers: Retainers are essential for maintaining your beautiful smile. You should always store your retainer in a safe place, but if you misplace it, retrace your steps to try and locate it. If you still can’t find it, or if it becomes damaged, contact our team to arrange replacement or repair. 

Preventing Orthodontic Emergencies

While emergencies can happen, there are measures you can take to reduce the risk. Here are some tips to keep your orthodontic journey smooth: 

  1. Maintaining Proper Oral Hygiene: Brushing and flossing are essential for a healthy smile. Pay special attention to cleaning around your braces or aligners. Dr. Burke and Dr. Beckstrom will provide you with detailed instructions on maintaining excellent oral hygiene throughout your treatment. 
  2. Avoiding Problematic Foods: Certain foods, like caramel or hard candies, can pose a threat to orthodontic appliances. Avoid sticky, hard, or chewy foods that can damage your braces or aligners; opt for softer braces-friendly options. 
  3. Following Orthodontic Instructions: Our helpful team will provide you with specific instructions to follow during your treatment. Whether it’s wearing elastics or avoiding certain habits, make sure you follow these guidelines. 

When To Seek Professional Help

Remember, you can always contact Dr. Burke and Dr. Beckstrom if you have any questions or concerns about your treatment. If you are unsure about a situation or experience any of the following, reach out to us right away: 

  • Severe pain or discomfort that doesn’t subside. 
  • Uncontrolled bleeding or injury to your mouth or face.
  • Any issues that hinder your ability to eat or speak properly. 


Your smile is worth protecting, and being prepared for orthodontic emergencies is essential. By following our tips, you’ll be able to handle unexpected situations confidently. Remember, at Burke and Beckstrom, we’re here to support you every step of the way. If you have concerns or emergencies arise, don’t hesitate to contact our friendly team!