Treating your teeth with braces is a significant investment of time and money. The payoff is worthy in the long run, but braces require a lot of care. Also, children face frequent mishaps than adults in the form of broken braces or bracket as braces are quite fragile.
Don’t panic if your bracket breaks or loosens. Call your dentist immediately if you experience broken braces bracket condition. Meanwhile, use orthodontic wax to cover up the affected region.
You can also clip extra wires using a nail clipper to prevent any cut or damage to cheeks or lips.
This article will be a guide to help you manage such a situation. I will list out the common causes which can lead to broken braces or bracket, how to handle the situation while you wait for your appointment with the orthodontist and interim measures that you should follow.
For example, the urgency of seeing your orthodontist will depend on how much discomfort the situation causes. Also, you will need to follow certain measures like eating soft foods, not brushing too hard, etc.
But before we proceed any further, I will give an overview of braces.
What are braces?
Orthodontic braces align teeth by gently shifting them in the correct position. Braces treatment or orthodontic treatment is helpful in addressing a variety of concerns like crowding of teeth, spacing, overjet, and crossbite.
Traditional orthodontic braces made of stainless steel. It is one of the strongest material available, still can break at times. You must Identify if the broken part is a wire or a bracket. Also, retain any piece of broken wire or bracket.
Common causes of broken braces or bracket
Some of the common causes which can result in broken braces or bracket are –
- Eating certain foods which are sticky or crunchy like toffee, apple, popcorn, and other similar foods
- Injury to the mouth
- Brushing your teeth too hard or incorrectly
- Using a toothpick
- Flossing roughly
While you have braces in your teeth, you need to be extra careful and avoid the cause which can damage the brackets. If your child has braces, make him aware of what is safe and how to take care of braces.
This way you can avoid potential damage most of the times.
Steps to fix and treat a broken braces or bracket
If you find one of your brackets has broken, follow these steps to fix it without any complication.
Check the damage
Check to see if the bracket is attached to the wire. If the wire is attached to the bracket, then leave it as it is and cover the region with orthodontic wax. The wax will prevent the wire from sliding and will be comfortable for your cheek and gums.
Take control of the situation
If the wire is protruding out due to the broken bracket, then use nail clippers to clip the wire as close to the bracket as possible which will help avoid injury to cheeks, lips, and tongue.
Place orthodontic wax if there is an extra amount of wire protruding out.
Make an appointment with your orthodontist
Make an appointment with your orthodontist. The sooner you fix your appointment, the faster you will get relief from pain and any discomfort.
When you fix an appointment, explain your problem and also the urgency. Let your dentist know if you have the broken part with you. This information will help your orthodontist to be prepared to fix during your appointment.
While you wait for your appointment, there are few things you can do to feel at ease and not worsen the pain
- Wash your mouth regularly with salt water to promote healing. Salt water will help heal any cuts or bruises. Stir half a teaspoon of salt into 8 ounces of water. Swish the mixture and spit out.
- Eat soft food like yogurt, eggs, and fresh bread or cooked pasta to avoid worsening of problems caused by broken brackets.
- Avoid hard and crunchy foods like apples, popcorn, raw carrots and sticky candies.
- If there is pain or discomfort take over the counter painkillers to ease the pain.
When is a broken bracket an emergency?
- Trauma to teeth, face or mouth
- Infection or swelling of the gums or face
- Severe uncontrollable pain
If any of the above mentioned happens, visit your dentist or go to an emergency room. Ideally, you should try to visit a dentist, since he is better equipped to handle your problem.
For example, if you have a dental emergency, such as a fractured tooth, your dentist will treat the fracture immediately and restore the tooth. After the tooth has been taken care of, he will plan the remaining orthodontic treatment accordingly.
Likewise, pain or swelling could be a sign of infection and will be treated better by a dentist or periodontist.
Precautions to follow
The additional measures that you should follow while undergoing broken braces treatment are –
- Brush your teeth daily using the orthodontic brush prescribed by your dentist.
- Floss regularly and also use mouthwash to rinse your mouth once daily.
- Do not bite or chew on pen and pencils. You may hurt your teeth.
- Cut food into small pieces while eating to minimize the risk of breaking or loosening your brackets.
Over to you
A broken braces or bracket doesn’t always mean an emergency. Fix your bracket temporarily using the steps mentioned above and if the wire doesn’t cause pain or discomfort then wait till your next appointment.
But do let your dentist know about the incident since he will be a better judge of the situation. If you feel that the wire has become loose, then even if there is no pain or discomfort you should visit your dentist.
Braces require lots of care, but even the most careful person may end up with one or two broken brackets over the course of treatment, which is okay.