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What to Do When Braces Break or Loosen

Braces are typically very durable pieces of hardware, but occasionally, a bracket or wire may come loose. If your braces break, don’t panic – simply follow this guide to temporarily stabilize your braces before scheduling an emergency visit with Dr. Speaks.

What Causes Braces to Break?

Brackets and wires can break for numerous reasons. Eating the wrong food, sustaining a mouth injury, brushing incorrectly or simply using a toothpick roughly could be to blame for the problem.

If you or your child’s broken braces were caused by a hit to the face, call Dr. Speaks immediately at (720) 513-3743. Otherwise, take steps to alleviate the discomfort of broken braces until you can make an appointment.

Temporarily Stabilize Your Braces

Depending on the exact problem you’re facing, you may be able to temporarily stabilize your braces. Here are a few ideas for doing so:

Loose bracket

The bonding agent used to attach metal or ceramic brackets to each tooth can weaken or break, causing the bracket to come loose. Depending on its placement, the wiggly bracket may poke your cheek, gums or tongue.

To stabilize this problem, place orthodontic wax over the loose bracket. If you don’t have any wax, you can get some from Dr. Speaks. This should help reduce your discomfort until we can reattach the bracket.

Loose band

Bands are the metal rings cemented around back (and sometimes front) teeth. The cement around each band can weaken and cause it to loosen. If it comes off completely, don’t attempt to reattach it. Save the band and bring it to Dr. Speaks to have it re-cemented in place.

Broken wire

This uncomfortable scenario is one of the most common ways braces break. If a wire spanning two brackets snaps and protrudes outward, it can stick into your cheek, tongue or gums. No matter what, a broken wire requires an appointment with Dr. Speaks because the wire is now useless for straightening your teeth.

Until your appointment, don’t cut the wire. Instead, try pushing it into a more comfortable position with the eraser-end of a pencil. If the wire still causes discomfort, place a small piece of wax on the end.

Loose spacer

Also called separators, spacers are rubber rings placed between your teeth for a few days to create a space large enough for orthodontic bands to slip onto your teeth more easily. It’s possible for spacers to slip out of position or fall out entirely. Call Dr. Speaks if this happens because it probably means the bands are ready to be placed.

Take Other Measures

While you wait for your appointment, follow these other tips to relieve discomfort if your braces break:

Eat soft food

You don’t want to further damage your broken braces, so eat soft food such as yogurt, mashed potatoes, soup and boiled eggs. Avoid hard or sticky foods such as apples, raw carrots and candies until you can meet with Dr. Speaks.

Treat mouth sores

If you didn’t act fast enough to cover a protruding wire or loose bracket, a sore may have formed in your mouth. Rub an over-the-counter oral anesthetic (such as Anbesol, which contains lidocaine) on the sore to help numb and soothe it.

Rinse with salt water

Dissolve one-half teaspoon salt in a cup of warm water. Rinse with this solution to help keep mouth sores clean and promote faster healing.

Schedule an Appointment with Dr. Speaks

Call our Denver orthodontic office at (720) 513-3743 to discuss the problem. We can get you in for an emergency appointment if necessary, but if you’re not experiencing any pain, repairing your braces can probably wait until your next regularly scheduled visit.