Social Distancing: How to Deal with an Orthodontic Emergency

Apr 4, 2020

We hope this blog finds you well during this time of social distancing. If you’re missing us, don’t worry—our team at Hutta & Cook Orthodontics is still here for you and your family! We want to know all the fun things you’re doing to pass the time and how you’re taking care of your braces. 

Have an orthodontic emergency? We’re here to help!

Even though our office is temporarily closed, we are still here for you if you are dealing with a true orthodontic emergency. Just call us and we will help you take care of it. Confused about what constitutes an emergency? Read on!

What IS or is NOT an orthodontic emergency?

  • Broken brackets: Broken brackets are NOT emergencies and can be replaced when we reopen. If the bracket is spinning or bothering you, place wax on it to hold it in place. If your tooth moves, it’s okay. We’ll be able to get it back into alignment quickly once we reopen.
  • Broken wires: If a wire breaks and is NOT causing you severe discomfort, then it’s not an emergency. Everything will be okay until we reopen and replace it. 
  • Small, pokey wire: A small, pokey wire is NOT an emergency. Place wax over the end and it will help with any discomfort. 
  • Long, pokey wire: If a long span of wire has slipped out of a bracket, try reinserting the wire back into the bracket hole (slot) with a pair of tweezers. If you’re unable to do this, then cut the wire closest to the next bracket with a pair of wire cutters or clean fingernail/toenail clippers (please see the video on our Facebook page for a visual demonstration). 
  • Broken expander: If your expander breaks or falls out, please call us and we’ll make a decision on a case-by-case basis about what to do. In most cases, we’ll ask you to hold on to the expander and we’ll put it back in when we reopen, or have you wear it as a retainer. But, since every case is different, we ask that you call so we can decide what’s best for you!
  • Broken Herbst appliance: If the Herbst breaks and is causing you discomfort, please call us and we’ll assess the situation and decide how to best help you.
  • If you have an accident or have any trauma to your teeth or braces, please give us a call. 
  • If you have a lost or broken retainer, we’ll try to make a new one and mail it to you.
  • If your permanently-bonded retainer (on the tongue side of the teeth) is loose or broken, we will fix it when our office reopens. If the wire is irritating your tongue, place wax over the end to minimize the discomfort.
  • If you need orthodontic wax or elastic bands, please email us ( or We’d be happy to mail you some.

While orthodontic issues can happen to anyone, it’s more important than ever that patients take good care of their braces now that we are temporarily closed for non-emergency cases. To prevent any orthodontic problems, avoid sticky, chewy, or hard foods as well as rough playing at home, like wrestling or tackle football (especially if you aren’t wearing a mouthguard!). This way, patients won’t be stuck with an irritating braces problem or risk a serious injury and more social exposure if we have to fix it in the office.

By following the guidelines above, you’ll help us keep our patients, staff, doctors, and community safe by practicing good social distancing, while also keeping you or your child’s treatment on track. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out—our orthodontists and staff members care for you and are happy to answer your questions.

While you’re home, take care of your smile!

Just because you or your child are home from work or school, that doesn’t mean that you should take a break from healthy oral hygiene habits! In fact, with all the extra time in your schedule, why not focus on taking even better care of your teeth and braces? 

Help your smile stay sparkling clean with proper brushing and flossing. Both are so important for a healthy orthodontic treatment! Remember to brush for two minutes without appliances and four minutes with appliances after every meal. One of our favorite tips is to put on some fun music or hum a song to keep track of how long you’re brushing! 

While at home, you may be tempted to indulge in some unhealthy foods. But, we recommend keeping sugary or acidic foods and drinks to a minimum. Whenever possible, choose water over juices or sweetened drinks. Staying hydrated is good for your whole body and your smile. Plus, water washes away any food particles leftover in your mouth while tap water with added fluoride helps prevent cavities.

By remembering these important oral hygiene tips, you can get your smile in its best shape ever and ensure that you or your child’s braces are nice and clean at your next appointment.

Want to connect with our team on social media?

Visit our Facebook and Instagram pages (@huttasmiles) for more information, fun family ideas for you and your loved ones, as well as updates from our team before we reopen. We can’t wait to connect with you and learn more about the things you’re doing while you’re at home!

Stay safe and healthy—we hope to see you back in our offices soon.