The most common form of orthodontic treatment to correct overlapping teeth is traditional metal wire braces, which consists of metal braces and wires attached to your teeth, which pull the teeth in a straighter position.
But one of the common problems with traditional wire braces is that no matter how well they are made, certain behaviors can cause the metal wire or bracket to break.
Before we talk about what you should do when the metal bracket breaks off, we’ll briefly go through some behaviors that might cause the metal wire/bracket to break off or become loose:
- Not Customizing Your Oral Hygiene Routine to Suit Your Braces : Brushing your teeth roughly and vigorously or flossing incorrectly might cause your braces to become loose. Picking at your teeth with a toothpick can also cause broken dental brackets and loose wires.
- Eating All the Wrong Foods: There’s a reason you can’t eat foods like hard candies, sticky caramel or popcorn when you are wearing braces. They can get stuck in your wires and cause them to break off.
- Playing Sports Without a Mouth Guard: If you are into contact sports, your metal dental brackets and wires can come loose.
What should you do when your brackets break? You need to make sure that you take proper steps to fix your braces, no matter what the cause:
- Book an Appointment With Your Orthodontist
- Assess the Damage
- Double Check All Wires
- Till You Visit the Orthodontist
Step 1: Book an Appointment With Your Orthodontist
Your orthodontist should be immediately alerted about your broken dental brackets. So, make an appointment with your orthodontist as soon as possible.
Step 2: Assess the Damage
Take a good look at your bracket and assess what’s wrong with it. First, you need to see if the wire is still attached to the bracket. If it is sticking out, press it back into position with a cotton swab. You can use dental wax to hold the wire in your mouth till you can see your orthodontist.
If any protruding wires can’t be reattached, use small scissors or nail clippers to cut the wires as close to the teeth as possible, and cover up the area with dental wax. If it is a metal bracket that has loosened up, you can detach it and bring it to your orthodontist for reattachment.
Step 3: Double Check All Wires
Double-check if all the metal wires of your braces are securely attached to the metal dental brackets.
Step 4: Till You Visit the Orthodontist
Since you might not get an appointment with your orthodontist immediately to fix your braces, you need to develop a care routine.
- Wash your mouth regularly with saltwater to help heal the mouth sores or abrasions the broken wires might cause.
- Eat soft foods like boiled eggs, soup, or yogurt to avoid further damage to your braces.
Most important advice of all: don’t panic — a broken braces bracket doesn’t spell the disastrous end to your orthodontic treatment. It’s a minor roadblock, which you can easily clear by visiting the orthodontist to get your braces fixed. Once that’s done, you are back on your journey to straighter teeth.
Dr. Satish Pai is an orthodontist and an Ivy League trained dentist who has and has served as a faculty at Columbia University. He believes that a perfect smile not only makes a person look great but feel great. As the founder of Putnam Orthodontics and a Partner at Brite Orthodontics, he is dedicated to providing the best orthodontic treatments to his patients. He also writes to educate people about everything orthodontics and the importance of correctly aligned teeth along with good oral health. In his free time, you can find him golfing, doing yoga or surfing, and spending time with this family.