It is not uncommon to experience a loose bracket during orthodontic treatment. Brackets are attached to your child’s teeth using a small amount of tooth-colored resin, and over time, this resin can weaken and can lead to brackets becoming loose.
Accidents are always going to happen, and even a careful child may end up with a broken bracket or two throughout their orthodontic treatment plan. If your child does break a bracket, follow these five steps ASAP.
Step 1: Determine the Damage Level
The first thing to do after noticing a damaged or broken braces bracket is to assess the level of damage. Check the wires around the bracket first. If the wire is still attached to the bracket, gently push it back into place using a cotton swab. Then, cover the wire with orthodontic wax to ensure that the wire does not irritate the interior of your child’s mouth. In doing so, you will help to prevent potential injuries to your child as a result of a broken wire or bracket. If any wires are protruding, use a pair of nail clippers to carefully cut the wire as close as possible to the tooth and cover any protruding wire with a piece of orthodontic wax.
Step 2: Secure Any Loose Brackets
If your child states that a bracket feels loose, schedule an appointment with your orthodontist. If the issue is not pressing, your child may be able to wait until their next scheduled appointment to get the bracket repaired. If this is the case, have them apply a small amount of orthodontic wax over the brackets sharp edge to reduce any discomfort.
Step 3: Call Your Orthodontist
Many parents are surprised to learn that a bracket coming off is not a true dental emergency, and it can commonly happen from time to time. If your child loses a bracket during regular business hours, we will do our best to get you on our schedule as soon as possible. If the bracket comes off either after hours or over the weekend, simply leave us a message, and we will return your call on Monday morning to schedule an appointment.
Step 4: Perform the Following at Home
Since most cases of a broken braces bracket is not necessarily an emergency, your child may need to wait a few days before the bracket can be repaired. If so, here are a few simple steps you can take to prevent any discomfort.
- Have your child wash their mouth with salt water regularly to promote healing from any cuts or sores that the broken bracket may have caused.
- Avoid hard and sticky foods that can exacerbate issues with broken braces brackets to avoid any further irritation or damage.
- Broken braces brackets can cause sores or irritation when they rub against the inside of the mouth. You can treat any sores with oral medications such as benzocaine or an over-the-counter painkiller like ibuprofen.
- Have your child continue to clean their teeth thoroughly.
Step 5: Avoid Any Future Recurrences
When faced with a broken bracket, it’s essential to properly evaluate what caused the bracket to break so that your orthodontist can address it. It’s also critical to realize why the bracket broke off in the first place to avoid any repeat issues in the future.
Work with your child to determine the following:
- Did biting into something hard or sticky cause the bracket to pop off?
- Have you been neglecting your oral hygiene routine?
- Have you been brushing your teeth too aggressively?
- Has this tooth lost a bracket in the past?
Common Causes of Broken Brackets
As previously mentioned, the best way to help prevent broken brackets is to avoid harmful habits that can damage braces. Educating yourself and your child about some of the behaviors that can commonly pop brackets off of a tooth is a great way to help avoid them in the future. Some of the most common things that we see as professionals that can cause damage to braces include:
- Eating certain foods like popcorn, nuts, sticky or hard candy, and other hard snacks
- Biting directly into something with too much force such as an ear of corn, or even hard bread rolls
- Sustaining a mouth injury
- Brushing your teeth too aggressively or incorrectly
- Using a toothpick to remove left-behind food from brackets and wires
- Flossing with too much force
Our team at Thomas Orthodontics is happy to help repair your child’s braces so that they can get back on track to a healthy, happy smile. To make an appointment for braces or any orthodontic emergencies, contact Thomas Orthodontics today.