From past experience, we’ve identified the most common problems and provided solutions that can either fix or temporarily alleviate discomfort until you jump back on the path. If something becomes loose or broken, save any pieces you may have in an envelope and give us a call during office hours for an appointment. We will advise you if this can be repaired at your next scheduled visit or if a separate repair appointment will be needed. If you have an after-hours emergency that requires immediate medical assistance, you can page us by calling our main phone number and following the prompts for emergency calls. Dr. Hughes, Dr. Cozad, or one of their assistants will call you back shortly.

Loose Teeth

If your teeth begin feeling a little loose, don’t worry. This is normal! Your braces must first loosen your teeth in order to move them into the right position. Once your teeth have been re-positioned, they will no longer be loose.

Lost Hook

From time to time, elastics may cause your hooks to fall out. Give us a call during normal business hours and we can arrange for a new hook to be added.


Anyone who plays sports should purchase a special braces-friendly mouthguard, available from our office. This mouthguard will not interfere with your treatment like a traditional mouthguard can.

Lost Tie Wire or Elastic Tie

Tiny rubber rings, known as “O” rings, are sometimes placed for decoration. If the “O” ring comes off a brace, this can usually wait until the next appointment.

Loose Bracket or Band

This isn’t painful, but if so, call us when the office opens and we’ll schedule a time to fix the problem. If it’s close to your next scheduled appointment, let us know ahead of time that you will need a repair.

Soreness from Braces

The tenderness typically lasts about 48 hours and is most noticeable when eating. Switch to soft foods, but try to eat normally as soon as possible. Take ibuprofen (Advil or Children’s Advil) over aspirin or acetaminophen (Tylenol) to relieve the pain.

Lost Spacers

If a separator/spacer falls out and your appointment is within 48 hours, don’t worry about it and just keep hopping on. If your appointment is more than 2 days out, try replacing it with floss. If you are unable to replace it, call for an appointment and we can replace it for you.

Sharpness Felt in Mouth

Occasionally, the tongue side of a back band may feel sharp. Solve this problem by taking a pencil eraser and pushing the cleat back-in towards the band.

Orthodontic Wax

Use wax to create a cushion over your braces when you feel sore spots, irritations, or ulcers. Leave some at home and take the rest with you to work or school. Don’t have wax with you? Form a ball with sugarless gum over the affected area.

Poking Tie Wire

Add a cushion to the wire with a ball of orthodontic wax. If you’re still in pain over the night or weekend, clip the wire with a nail or wire clipper. Give us a call when the office is open to schedule an appointment. If you are in pain and cannot wait until the office opens, you may call us after hours.