Emergency Care

True orthodontic emergencies are rare, but when they occur we are available to you. As a general rule, Dr. Kuhn considers orthodontic emergencies to be only those instances when braces or other orthodontic appliances are causing abnormal pain, discomfort, or bleeding.

In these situations, please call our office for “at home” instructions or to schedule an “emergency office appointment.” Most problems can be managed at home, thus saving you the time and inconvenience of an extra visit to our office.

If emergencies occur during non-office hours, please call Dr. Kuhn’s cell phone number at 608-220-1820. If immediate attention is required and Dr. Kuhn is not available ... please contact any orthodontic office for help, or as a last resort, go to a medical emergency room.

After alleviating your discomfort or problem, repairs can be made at your next regularly scheduled appointment. This will allow your treatment to remain on course and uninterrupted.


General soreness

When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth, and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. Stick to a soft diet until your teeth do not hurt to chew.

Irritated gums and other sore spots can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a warm salt-water mouthwash. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in eight ounces of warm water and rinse your mouth vigorously.

If the tenderness is severe, take Aspirin, Acetaminophen (Tylenol), or whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain such as Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil). 

The lips, cheeks, and tongue may become irritated for one to two weeks as they learn a new posture and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can put wax on the braces to lessen this. We’ll show you how!



Sometimes discomfort is caused by not wearing the headgear as instructed by Dr. Kuhn. If the facebow (metal piece) is bent, please call our office for assistance. The headgear should hurt less the more it is worn, so be sure to wear the headgear whenever you are at home (including sleeping hours) except when eating and during “horseplay.”


Loose appliance

If your appliance is poking you, place wax on the offending part.


Loose bracket

If your bracket or band is still attached to the wire, you should leave it in place and put wax on it if needed for comfort.  If the bracket comes off and is lost ... no problem! We will make all necessary repairs at your next visit.


Loose wire

Loose wires are not an emergency unless they are poking and causing pain and discomfort. In that case, using tweezers or needle-nosed pliers, try to bend the wire into any position so it is comfortable.

You can also use a nail clipper to cut the wire anywhere needed in order to alleviate the discomfort. The goal is to alleviate the pain and avoid having to make an extra trip to our office.

We will make all necessary repairs at the next regularly scheduled visit.  Use wax in any amount to help cushion any sharp areas.


Poking wire

Using a pencil eraser, push the poking wire down or place wax on it so it is no longer poking.

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