How to Handle Broken Braces

Orthodontic treatment can do so much more than simply straightening your teeth for a more beautiful smile. Braces also improve your oral health. Unfortunately, while they are incredibly durable and are meant to last for the extent of your treatment, under certain circumstances, you may have to deal with a broken bracket or wire.

How Do Orthodontic Damages Occur?

The brackets and wires can break for several reasons:

  • Eating hard, crunchy, or sticky foods
  • Bad habits such as biting your fingernails and chewing pens or ice
  • Brushing teeth vigorously or incorrectly
  • Using toothpick or floss roughly
  • A poor bond between the tooth and the bracket
  • Injury or trauma to the mouth

Broken braces may cause discomfort, cuts, and abrasions in your mouth. If left unfixed, it will make your treatment less effective.

While it is best to see an orthodontist as soon as you notice a problem, your braces may break during off-hours or while you are on a holiday vacation. In this case, you can do interim measures to control the degree of damage and avoid possible complications.

What You Can Do?

1. Check the Damage

Loose Bracket

Brackets are either metal or ceramic pieces. They are attached to every tooth using a composite resin. This resin, however, can weaken or break if you regularly eat food that is hard or sticky. This, in turn, can cause a bracket to come loose and poke into your cheeks, gums, or tongue.

In case of a loose bracket, apply orthodontic wax to areas of sharp metal to irritation, sores, or lacerations to your cheeks, gums, and lips. This wax is available at any drugstore or supermarket. They are safe to use and non-toxic if accidentally swallowed.

Loose or Protruding Wire

A protruding or broken wire may cause irritation or injury to different areas of your mouth. You may push the wire away from the affected area using a cotton bud or the eraser end of a pencil.

If it is too risky to tuck away the wire, cover its end with orthodontic wax and schedule an appointment with a professional immediately.

Wobbly Bands

Bands are metal rings or circles that are cemented at the back of your teeth. If it becomes loose, do not chew the band. If it comes off completely, keep it and bring it with you on your dental visit. It has to be replaced or cemented again.

Loose Spacers or Separators

Separators are the rubber rings you see in between your teeth. They are meant to create a small space so that the bands will slide onto your teeth easily. Normally, they are only needed for a few days. If they fall out or become extremely loose, visit your orthodontist immediately. This may be a sign that the spacer can now be removed and you are ready for the next step in your treatment.

2. Forget About Superglue and Other Adhesives

While it is tempting to try to fix the broken braces on your own using superglue or other adhesives, these are not meant to be used in the mouth and are dangerous if swallowed.

3. Rinse with Warm Salt Water to Prevent Infection

Warm salt water rinses are important for any patient experiencing pain, mouth irritation, and swelling. These are highly recommended to orthodontic patients with a broken bracket and wire to help bring down swelling and heal cuts and mouth sores.

A saltwater rinse is very easy to prepare. Just add ½ teaspoon of regular table salt to 1 cup of warm water. Use this mixture as a mouthwash. You can do the rinse several times daily as needed to help prevent infections.

Most orthodontic or braces-related problems are often minor. However, it is very important to examine your mouth carefully and check the damage to prevent mouth injuries and infections. If you need urgent attention, schedule an appointment with an orthodontist immediately.

A specialist from Sunrise Dentistry can provide you holistic dentistry services, as well as quick and easy fixes for orthodontic-related emergencies. Seek professional advice and treatment by calling our office at (970) 247-3303.