September 26th 2023
The brackets and wires of conventional metal braces are very strong, but they’re not invincible. Plenty of orthodontic patients have experienced a broken bracket or two in their treatment time. While braces damage is an inconvenience, it can quickly cause discomfort and, most importantly, interfere with the progress of your alignment.
Quick Fix for a Broken Bracket
A broken bracket will no longer be attached to the tooth. It slides, spins, or moves along the arch wire. Brackets are the star of the show for orthodontic smiles, but the wires do the serious work of keeping teeth moving.
If you can’t see your Philadelphia orthodontist right away after you break a bracket, there are several ways to do damage control at home:
- Don’t forcibly remove the bracket or wire if it’s still partially in place.
- If the bracket has come loose completely, remove and save it for your appointment.
- If the wire is broken too, gently push it back in place if it’s sticking out.
- Whatever is going on, secure the damaged hardware with orthodontic wax.
Common Reasons Brackets Break
Sometimes broken brackets just happen. Sometimes they have an obvious cause. Here are some of the most common user-related reasons braces break:
- Eating the wrong foods: This is the biggest culprit behind a broken bracket. Foods that are hard, crunchy, or chewy need only one wrong bite to rip off a bracket.
- Suffering a mouth injury: If you play contact sports, you should have a customized mouth guard to protect your teeth and braces. If you suffer a blow to the mouth, it can absolutely knock brackets out of place.
- Vigorous brushing: Yep, it is possible to brush your teeth too aggressively and shift brackets. Invest in a water pik and electric toothbrush so you can reach all the nooks and crannies without unnecessary force.
- Bad habits: Don’t chew on things that aren’t food – namely, fingernails or pen caps or ice cubes. Wearing braces is a good opportunity to break these bad habits forever.
The Logistics of Broken Brackets
Sometimes, where you are in the braces process influences whether you have to deal with broken brackets:
- You’re a newbie. Even though your Philadelphia orthodontist reviews all the rules of wearing braces, it’s easy to forget what must be done to care for those brackets and wires.
- The bonding isn’t strong enough: If teeth get wet or are not wholly clean during the bonding process, the bond between tooth and bracket can weaken.
- You’re a veteran. If your same glue and brackets have been on your teeth for months or even years, some materials may begin to wear out.
- Your time is up. Do you already have an appointment to get your braces off? You are so close to freedom you may be a little cavalier. Maybe you’ve had a piece of gum or two, some popcorn, or chewy and crunchy foods. Don’t be surprised if you hear a crack and your tongue discovers a loose bracket.
If you want to avoid brackets entirely, talk to Drs. Roberts and de Marsche and their orthodontic team at Philadelphia Orthodontists in Center City to learn about Invisalign and Invisalign Teen. Schedule a consultation.