What You Should Do If Your Braces Break

December 4, 2015

Although it is rare, sometimes braces break. Usually this happens due to injury or by eating sticky and hard foods. Sometimes it’s because the wearer engaged in activities that put stress on the wires and brackets –like contact sports or playing an instrument. While this is unpleasant and stressful, it is far from irreparable.

If your braces break, you or a loved one should call your orthodontist. If your braces break due to impact and physical injury, call emergency services immediately. Once you’re in immediate care, someone should contact your orthodontist or oral care specialist so they can assess the situation and add their services as needed.

Thankfully, most cases of broken braces aren’t extreme. We’ll list the common events below and advise what to do. In any case, still contact your orthodontist to schedule an appointment as soon as you can.

The common types of break are:

  • Loose braces (brackets)

The brackets are the metal and ceramic pieces that attach to each tooth. Sometimes they become loose and irritate the gums and mouth. You should apply your orthodontic wax regularly for relief and leave it alone until you see your orthodontist. If the bracket comes off the tooth completely, do not try to remove it from the wiring/banding. As long as the bracket is not cutting into your mouth and gums, then you should stick to consuming liquids and soft foods until your orthodontist can help.

  • Broken wire/ Wires protruding

A loose wire can cut or irritate the gums and mouth. You can try gently moving the wire back into its bracket for comfort. Apply your wax to the end of the wire and rinse your mouth with warm salt water or antiseptic rinse. If discomfort persists, take over-the-counter pain relievers as instructed on their packaging.

  • Loose bands

Bands are the metal rings that are cemented around back teeth (and sometimes around the front teeth). Make an appointment to have the bands re-cemented. If the band comes off entirely, do not attempt to reattach it; save the band, so the orthodontist can judge if they can re-attach it or not.

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