How to Deal with Broken Braces
What are the most common causes of broken braces?
Eating hard or chewy food, biting into sandwiches or fruit and toying with or improperly handling braces are the most common causes of broken dental appliances.
What are the types of broken braces and how do we deal with them?
Broken braces are loosely classified by part:
- Loose bracket Brackets (also called braces) are the metal or ceramic pieces that are attached to your teeth using composite resin. They can come loose or break if you eat chewy or hard food. If this happens, the brackets might irritate your inner cheek, tongue or gum. If your orthodontist gave you some dental wax at your first visit, you can apply a little on the loose bracket to prevent further irritation. Should the loose bracket affect the way you talk or eat or cause you pain, schedule an appointment with your orthodontist. Never play with a loose bracket; if it comes off completely, bring it with you on your dental visit.
- Loose band Bands are the metal rings that go around the front or back teeth and serve as the anchor for your braces. If they become loose or come off completely, immediately set an appointment with your orthodontist to have them repositioned or re-cemented. Never ignore a loose band because it can delay complete treatment of your teeth. If the band comes off, the space in between the teeth where the band is placed may close and may make re-cementing the band impossible. If your orthodontist cannot schedule you for re-cementing, he/she may be able to accommodate a quick appointment to place separators between your teeth so the band space doesn't close.
- Broken or loose elastic tie. The elastic tie is the rubber band used with your braces. These ties usually come in a range of colors. If an elastic tie breaks or falls off, report it immediately to your orthodontist so that you will know if you need to see him/her for a quick visit to replace the elastic tie or if you can simply just wait it out until your next appointment.
- Poking or broken wireA broken or protruding wire is one of the most common causes of a sore cheek, tongue or gum. If the wire in your braces breaks or pokes the inside of you mouth, you can try pushing back the wire into place by using a cotton swab or the eraser end of a pencil (make sure it is clean). Or you can put a piece of dental wax over the end of the wire to prevent it from cutting into your cheek, tongue or gum. Never cut the wire as this can cause further injury. Call your orthodontist for an urgent appointment. In the meantime, rinse your mouth with a saltwater solution to prevent any sores from getting infected. In case of pain, you may take an over-the-counter pain reliever.
- Loose spacer Also called separators, spacers are rubber rings that are used in between teeth to open up space for orthodontic bands. Springs or brass wire may also be used in place of rubber rings. Spacers are usually left in between teeth for a few days and may slide or fall out. If this happens, call your orthodontist for an appointment as soon as possible.