We Want to Help You!

Orthodontic emergencies are not life-threatening situations, meaning you can give us a call, describe your situation, and set up an appointment to get help with whatever damage your orthodontic appliance suffered.

You won't require help in fixing orthodontic emergencies in Vista too often, but in case they do happen, we wanted to offer a few tips on how to manage the situation.

Please remember to give us a call if you're a current patient so we can work together and solve your orthodontic emergency.

Getting Food Caught Between Your Teeth

This is most definitely not a situation that should get you alarmed and worried about your orthodontic treatment. It can certainly be uncomfortable and embarrassing, but nothing you can't solve easily with dental floss or an interdental brush. Please keep in mind that you have to maintain good oral hygiene during your orthodontic treatment to avoid other oral health problems.

What About a Ligature that Comes Off?

In orthodontics, we use these tiny rubber bands to hold the archwire securely to each bracket. It's possible, however, that a rubber ligature comes off, and you may need to relocate it using some tweezers. If you're afraid that you might swallow the rubber band, you can remove it entirely with a pair of tweezers. Please pay close attention and make a mental note of when this begins happening, as other rubber ligatures may soon start to come off on their own. Make sure you contact our office and let Dr. Albaugh know about any missing or broken ligatures to get the replacements you need.

Developing Mouth Sores

Using braces is not a direct causing factor of mouth sores; some people are just more susceptible to developing them. What can happen, however, is that your mouth sores become worse because of the irritation caused by your braces. This situation is uncomfortable for any patient, which is why we recommend you use a topical anesthetic over your sores to get a bit of relief. Talk to our team in case you continue facing discomfort and notice pain.


Most patients should expect some discomfort as they get their braces adjusted. While normal, it will make your experience very uncomfortable, but you can rest assured as it will only last a short time. When you start feeling discomfort, you should switch to a diet that includes only soft foods for a few days and try saltwater rinses.

Irritation on Your Lips or Cheeks

Patients wearing traditional metal braces will be at an increased risk of having irritated cheeks or lips. Some orthodontic wax will do the trick, as it creates a protective film over the stainless steel appliance that prevents it from irritating the soft tissues in your mouth. You should also keep in mind that this wax is not hazardous, so you can leave it in your mouth to prevent irritations and not worry if you swallow it accidentally.

Poking Wires

Please contact our office if you notice the ends of your archwire are out of place. You can also use a blunt object, such as a Q-tip or a pencil eraser, to relocate the wire and prevent any damage to the inside of your cheeks. As an alternative, you can clip the ends of the wire, but you should use some gauze or tissue to pad the area and form a little "bed" that neglects any risk of swallowing the little piece of wire that comes off.

Loose Brackets

This is one orthodontic emergency that many are worried about because it feels very disconcerting. As a situation that's usually caused by unfortunate dietary choices, our first recommendation is that you avoid eating hard foods or crunchy foods while you wear braces. These little pieces of food can and will get stuck between your tooth and the corresponding bracket, freely peeling away and rendering the powerful bonding agent completely useless. Another situation that can lead to loose brackets is direct trauma to your jaw, which is why we encourage any patient with braces to use a protective mouthguard during their sports activities.