In An Emergency

Review the first-aid ideas below for help with common problems. If you can’t find a solution, or if you experience unusual pain, immediately call the emergency phone number listed on our Contact page. We’ll make every attempt to see you the same day.


A wire causes irritation.
Using a pencil eraser or a Q-tip, gently push the wire away from the irritated area. If the wire can’t be tucked under, cover the sharp end with a small piece of wax, a cotton ball, or a piece of sugarless gum. Then contact us to schedule an adjustment ASAP.

The main wire dislodges from the tube or pipe on your back molar.
Try to reinsert the wire with a pair of needle-nosed pliers or tweezers. If the wire isn’t sticking into your flesh, place a piece of wax over the end. If the wire is sticking into your flesh and wax doesn’t help, contact us for an adjustment ASAP. If professional help isn’t immediately available, you may want to try this as a last resort: using a small wire cutter or toenail clipper, trim the end as closely as possible to the back of the last brace.

A rubber spacer falls out.
Insert two pieces of dental floss through the spacer. Pull on both pieces of floss to stretch the spacer, then slide the spacer back and forth between the two teeth where it belongs. Once the bottom half of the spacer slips under the tight spot between the teeth, release and remove the floss. The spacer should fit back into place properly.

A bracket becomes loose.
The bracket usually remains connected to the main wire by a small rubber colored ring. If the bracket flips around the wire and creates irritation, use eyebrow tweezers to reposition the brace. Then contact us for advice about next-steps.

A piece of your braces breaks away from your teeth.
Save the piece and contact us to schedule a repair visit.

You swallow a piece of your appliance.
Remain calm! This should move smoothly into the stomach and pass out of the body in a bowel movement. However, if you experience difficulty breathing, you should seek immediate medical attention. X-rays should be taken to determine the size, location and potential threat posed by the swallowed piece. Also, please notify us, so we can replace the missing part.

Your retainer cracks.
Remove the retainer from your mouth and bring all the pieces to our office for professional repair.

You cut your gums, tongue or inside of your cheek.
Using your fingers, apply moderate pressure to the bleeding site for several minutes. If the bleeding won’t clot, immediately contact us or your primary family dentist for assistance.

Your teeth become sore after a monthly visit.
Take Aspirin, Tylenol or ibuprofen (unless you’re allergic). It can also be soothing to rinse your mouth with a teaspoon of salt dissolved in a cup of warm water. If your teeth suddenly become sore between visits, contact us because it’s unusual for the teeth to become sore for no apparent reason.

Food becomes stuck between your teeth.
Use dental floss or a tufted proxy brush to dislodge the food.

You must unexpectedly postpone an appointment.
Contact us as far in advance as possible to reschedule. Advance notice makes it possible for another patient to see Dr. Quinn during your timeslot. If our office isn’t open when you call, please leave your name, phone number and a brief message on our answering machine. We’ll follow-up with you ASAP.

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