If you encounter any of the situations below, please call us immediately to schedule an emergency appointment.

  • Unusual amounts of pain after adjustments
  • Broken or loose appliances
  • Poking wires
  • Lost or broken retainers

What Should I Do?

Don’t wait until your next visit. During office hours please call (604) 678-8880 as soon as possible to schedule an emergency appointment. For after hours emergencies, please email drmah@norburnortho.com. Please do not come to our office without an emergency appointment. By calling us ahead of time to schedule an emergency appointment, we will try our best to rearrange our schedule to accommodate you. Even if you have a regular appointment scheduled, call us immediately to notify us if you have a bracket that popped off or a retainer/appliance that is broken/lost.

For more information about what we classify as orthodontic emergencies, please read below. The diagram is attached for reference. If there are any terms you do not understand, please refer to the definition guide below.

Lost Separators

If you know where the separators came out, try to use some dental floss to determine if it easily passes between the teeth. If there are only a couple of days remaining before the appointment, it’s okay! Be sure you continue to floss several times a day, and your teeth will remain separated. However, if the space where the separator fell out is still tight, replace with a new one or give us a call to schedule an appointment if you need help.

Broken or Loose Brackets or Bands

Brackets or bands may become loose occasionally, but you should not feel alarmed. If the loose bracket or band is hurting or bothering you, please call our office for an appointment to have the loose bands or brackets rebonded. It is essential that you notify us immediately about your breakage. Please do not wait until your adjustment appointment to inform us of any breakages. Adjustment appointments are allotted for procedures we have planned to perform only! If any piece of the appliance comes off, please bring it with you to your repair appointment.

Don’t worry if you accidentally swallow a bracket. They’re made to pass through harmlessly if you do swallow them.

Ligature Problems

Tiny rubber bands or small, fine wires that are known as ligatures hold the wire to the bracket. If a rubber band or wire ligature is lost, call our office so that Dr. Mah can determine whether you need to come in for an appointment.

If a rubber ligature comes off, you may be able to put it back using a pair of sterile tweezers. It is okay to wait until your next scheduled appointment to fix the ligature, unless it causes pain or stress that stops you from wearing elastics. Remove any broken pieces without destroying the appliances that remain. If this problem interferes with elastics, call us immediately to schedule an appointment to fix it!

When one ligature pops off, others may follow. Therefore, be sure to examine all other ligatures to make sure they’re still tight. If there is a missing or broken piece, this should be brought to the attention of Dr. Mah.

Lost or Broken Retainers

Call our office as soon as possible if you have lost or broken your retainer. In most cases, Dr. Mah will need to fabricate a new retainer. Wearing a retainer is essential in maintaining the smile achieved by your braces, so wearing your retainer is just as important as wearing your braces. Make sure you notify us immediately to schedule an appointment for lost or broken retainers.

Soreness and Tooth Pain

During the first week after your braces are bonded and adjustments are completed, you might feel some pain, soreness or discomfort. The discomfort is normal and temporary; however, eating may be uncomfortable and therefore, soft foods are recommended. You may take acetaminophen or other non-aspirin pain relievers while you adjust to your new braces. A warm washcloth or heating pad may reduce the soreness in your jaws as well! If you feel unusual amounts of pain, please call the office immediately.

Some patients have episodes of mouth sores (oral ulcers). While braces do not cause mouth sores, they may play a role in causing irritation. Quick relief of pain can be acheived by using small amounts of topical anesthetic (Orabase or Orajel). Wax can also be placed on brackets that come in contact with the sores.

Wire Irritation

Occasionally, discomforts are caused by poking wires or sharp ligatures. This problem can be resolved by moving the wire or ligature away from the irritated area by using a cotton swab or eraser. If the wire won’t move away, you can try covering it up with a small piece of cotton or a small amount of wax.

If an end of an archwire becomes painfully irritating, you can cut it off with sterilized nail clippers or scissors. To reduce the possibility of swallowing the piece of wire, use folded tissue or gauze around the irritated area. If you really cannot resolve the wire issue, please call our office for a comfort appointment.

On occasion, loops in the archwires can irritate the lips or gums, and as a result, we will need to adjust the wire. You can use wax or salt water rinses to relieve the irritation until you can make an appointment.


When playing contact sports, it is a good habit to wear a mouthguard. We will be happy to provide a mouthguard to protect your braces from sport injuries. Mouthguards also help in preventing teeth damage caused by teeth grinding at night.

If you have an accident, your lips may be cut and your braces might be loosened. In that case, please call our office so we can schedule an appointment for you.


General Enquiries


Tel: (604) 678-8880
Fax: (604) 678-8881


4619 East Hastings Street
Burnaby, BC  V5C 2K6