Comfort & Emergency Care

Patient comfort throughout orthodontic care is our primary concern. Even though you are careful, you may occasionally do some damage to your appliances. Dr. Doppel and the entire team want you to be informed in recognizing uncommon issues that may occur, and to understand how to solve them, at least temporarily, until it is possible to return to our office.

How to Identify the Parts of Braces


The archwire is held to each bracket with a ligature, which can be either a tiny elastic or a twisted wire.


The archwire is tied to all of the brackets and creates force to move teeth into proper alignment.


Brackets are connected to the bands, or directly bonded on the teeth, and hold the archwire in place.


Metal Band
The band is the cemented ring of metal which wraps around the tooth.


Elastic Hooks & Rubber Bands
Elastic hooks are used for the attachment of rubber bands, which help move the teeth toward their final position.
Diagram of the parts used in orthodontic braces

Uncommon Issues with Braces

Loose band or bracket: If a band or bracket comes loose from the tooth, please contact us so we can determine if an extra appointment is needed or if repair can be done at the next scheduled appointment. (See Image 1)

Broken arch wire: If a main arch wire breaks, contact us so we can schedule an appointment to replace the arch wire.

Wire out of tube: Using a pair of tweezers, try to insert the wire back into the tube. Use wax in that area if there is any discomfort. Please contact us so we can determine if an extra appointment is needed.

Irritation in Mouth: Sometimes new braces can be irritating to the mouth, especially while eating. A small amount of relief wax makes an excellent buffer between metal and mouth. Simply pinch off a small piece and roll it into a ball the size of a small pea. Flatten the ball and place it completely over the area of the braces causing irritation. If the wax is accidentally ingested it’s not a problem. The wax is harmless. (See Image 2)

Poking wire: Try to tuck the wire back in and out of the way with the blunt end of a toothbrush, a pencil eraser or a Q-tip. If your cheek is irritated in that area, cover the wire with wax. If you are unable to take care of a poking wire, contact us for an appointment. (See Image 3)

Lost Ligature (colored elastic) or wire tie: The loss of a ligature (colored elastic) or a wire tie will not cause discomfort. Please contact us so that it can be replaced at your earliest convenience. (See Image 4)

Lost Spacer: If a spacer (small elastic in between teeth) comes out please contact us so that we can determine if an extra appointment is needed. If a patient arrives with missing spacers and no advance notice was made, the scheduled treatment frequently needs to be re-scheduled. For your convenience, always contact us ahead of the appointment.

Soreness: Some soreness during treatment is to be expected. Warm salt-water rinses and over-the-counter pain medication can be helpful. If you have any concerns or questions regarding the degree of soreness being experienced, please feel free to contact us.

Accidents involving teeth/Direct injuries to mouth: Following a direct injury to the mouth, you should attempt to contact your family dentist. Please contact us after seeing your family dentist or if you are unable to reach that office.

Appointment Times: Please understand that although we try to keep a variety of times available for comfort care appointments our goal is to take care of whatever is causing the discomfort as soon as possible. The appointment time we are able to offer may not be at your “ideal” time and we ask for your understanding.

Image 1: Loose Band or Bracket
Image 2: Irritation in Mouth
Image 3: Poking Wire
Image 4: Lost Ligature or Wire Tie

Ways That You Can Help

We understand that when something is causing discomfort you want to have it taken care of as soon as possible. That is our goal as well. There are a few ways that you can help us with that goal and we ask that you read the following information carefully:

  • Prior to contacting us please study the diagram and be sure that you understand, to the best of your ability, what part of the appliance has come loose, is broken or is causing the discomfort. If you are reaching out on behalf of your child, please try to ask them questions to clarify what is causing the discomfort. We want to schedule the correct amount of time so that we can be of the most help possible.
  • PLEASE contact us before showing up at the office. There is often something we can tell you to do over the phone to get comfortable right away and schedule an appointment at a time when there is adequate time to fix the entire problem.
  • Parents, please encourage your children to tell you if there is anything loose or broken PRIOR to their appointment. The last thing that we want to do is to have to schedule a second appointment when if you contact us before we can simply find a longer appointment and do all the work in one visit.

We want orthodontic care to be as convenient as possible for you, including these unforeseen comfort issues.

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