Help! My Braces are Broken! What do I do?
For decades, braces have been used by dentists to straighten teeth. They are an orthodontic application where brackets connected by wires realign one or both rows of teeth. They are vital to the oral health of millions of people but maintaining and caring for them can be a hassle. Anyone who has braces understands the panic that hits when a wire breaks or a bracket loosens, especially when you can’t immediately run to your orthodontist’s office.
People with braces need to know what to do when a component of their braces break or is damaged. In addition, it’s important to understand how to care for your braces. This will prevent any permanent damage or help you avoid additional trips to your orthodontist.
Types of Braces
There are several types of braces. Each offers their own benefits and drawbacks and requires a unique maintenance plan. Since we’re focusing on durability, we can tell you that most are made of the same quality and craftsmanship and none offer any real durability concerns.
Metal braces are the most traditional form of treatment. Historically, these have been the most popular choice due to their durability and relatively low cost. Most importantly, they are proven to be effective at treating instances of overcrowding ranging from mild to severe. Metal braces allow an orthodontist to align a row of teeth in small increments.
There is a distinct disadvantage to metal braces. They feel heavy, are noticeable from a distance and give the appearance of a metal mouth. As braces have become more aesthetically pleasing and less visible, metal braces remain stuck in something of a “dark age”. The good news is that metal braces are still considered durable and usually require more adjustments than repairs.
Metal braces are still a popular way to fix gaps or correct misaligned bites in children and teenagers. Metal braces are a safe bet to effectively correcting orthodontic issues. So, if cost and results are a concern then mental braces are most likely you best bet.
Ceramic braces offer several advantages to metal braces. Most notable is that they seemingly blend into your teeth. To achieve this, they are covered in a compound that closely matches the colour of a patient’s teeth. This helps conceal them even from up close. Because ceramic is more fragile than steel they can typically only be used on front teeth or in combination with metal braces.
Why wait for the perfect smile?
Compared to traditional braces, fast braces are designed to cut treatment time in half without paying a premium or sacrificing safety. This method is unique to Georgian Dental® and the treatment calls for a combination of subsonic wave therapy and phototherapy along with an innovative bracket and wire technology.
Speed doesn’t come at the expense of the durability, though, so you don’t have to worry about extra appointments or repairs. The idea is to offer people a way out of their braces faster without settling for inferior results.
Invisalign was a huge advancement in the world of braces. These clear aligners are removable and customizable and they are generally considered to be the most comfortable option. They were created to straighten teeth with little to no interruption to a patient’s life.
There durability isn’t truly tested since each aligner needs to be replaced by an orthodontist every few weeks.
What Causes Braces to Break or Loosen?
Both metal and ceramic braces can break or loosen because they are made of intricate and delicate parts. The most common incidents that contribute to broken braces are:
- Eating foods that are prohibited like gum, ribs, corn chips and pizza crust.
- Sustaining a mouth, gum or tooth injury.
- An injury stemming from brushing too aggressively.
- Flossing or using a toothpick incorrectly.
What to do if your Braces Break?
If your braces break you will feel it right away but don’t panic. You will want to inspect both visually and with your hand to see what exactly happened. The first thing is to check if the wire is still attached to the bracket. If this is the case than leave it alone as to not make it worse. If it’s attached but poking you, take a Q-tip and gently move it back into place. You need to make sure the wire tip that is poking you is clean and dry. To do this, you can let it air dry or use a sterile piece of gauze. Place the gauze in between the bracket and the inside of your mouth.
If the wire is sticking out and you fear that it might cut you, we recommend taking nail clippers and clipping the wire very carefully. Try to get it as close to the tooth as possible. Apply orthodontic wax to keep the bracket in place. The next step is to immediately book an appointment with your orthodontist so they can implement a more stable and permanent solution. If the bracket falls off, collect it and bring it to your next appointment. Do the same if it loosens to the point where you can easily remove it.
Not every case requires professional attention or an emergency appointment. If you can wait until you’re scheduled to see your orthodontist next, then do so. The simplest way to judge is whether you are experiencing pain. Of course, if you’re unsure it’s best to play it safe and make the trip to your orthodontist’s office.
In the interim, rinse your mouth regularly with salt water and only eat soft foods like eggs and fresh bread. Avoid all hard or crunchy food. You can use an over-the-counter painkiller like Advil or Tylenol if you experience any soreness in your mouth caused by your broken braces.
Your braces breaking won’t necessarily impact treatment time. If the damage is simply a broken wire or loose bracket, then your orthodontist should be able to quickly fix it. The exception to this is if the damage caused a tooth to shift out of place or the braces are permanently destroyed. This could prolong the length of time you must wear braces but not by much. It might only be a couple of weeks or a month, but as any braces wearer will attest to, even an extra day can be frustrating.
It’s important to watch what you eat and avoid certain physical activities to keep your braces safe.
Don’t Panic if your Braces Loosen or Break!
Things happen and braces are susceptible to breakage or damage. As you go through your day, they are vulnerable to a host of potential issues. At the same time, you can’t avoid going to work or school or hanging out with friends. Incidences as common as bumping into someone on the subway or brushing your teeth too aggressively can lead to damage and a visit to your orthodontist for repair. The point is that things happen to even the most careful of brace wearers, so be cognizant of your braces but enjoy your life.
Follow the steps outlined in this article to fix your braces or to protect them from breaking. Our goal is to administer an orthodontic treatment that will get you out of braces as quickly and painlessly as possible.
If you are considering braces, then take advantage of our free no-obligation braces consultation. We would be happy to answer any of your questions and setting you on the path to get your smile in style!