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Help, I’ve broken my braces…

Every now and then accidents can and do happen while wearing braces. Whether it’s due to a sporting mishap or eating the wrong foods, occasionally a bracket can detach from the tooth or the arch wire may slip from the bracket.

Although these incidents are rare, they will need to be fixed by your orthodontist as quickly as possible to ensure you get back on the road to creating a great smile.

Here are a few tips on how to avoid broken braces, and what to do if a mishap occurs…

How breakages happen

Wrong food – When you first get braces, your orthodontist will provide a list of foods to chop into smaller pieces or avoid altogether. These include crunchy foods like apples and raw carrots, chewy foods like steak, and sticky items like lollies.

All these food types have the potential to damage your braces as they require you to either bite down hard, or may get caught in your brackets as you chew.

Although the adhesive that glues your brackets to your teeth is strong, it’s not impervious to such great force.

The best advice is to follow the guidance given by your orthodontist to avoid a breakage caused by food.

Sporting or impact – From the rough and tumble of play fighting with siblings to a tackle on the sports field, an impact to the mouth can dislodge your brackets or shift the arch wire.

If you’re intending on playing sports while wearing braces, ensure you get a properly-fitted mouth guard from your orthodontist to help avoid breakages from impact.

Vigorous tooth brushing – Although oral hygiene is of the utmost importance while wearing braces, rough brushing can dislodge the brackets. Brush your teeth firmly but without knocking your braces and brackets with the hard components of your tooth brush.

How do I know I’ve broken my braces?

Chances are you’ll feel it if your bracket comes off or a wire comes out, and the likelihood is your tongue won’t be able to leave this strange new feeling in your mouth alone!

Signs to look out for include:

  • A bracket or band that moves even slightly
  • A missing bracket
  • A wire that is pokey or not in position
  • A visibly broken wire

What should I do?

Ring your orthodontist and let them know what has happened. They will schedule an appointment as soon as possible to fix the problem.

In the meantime:

  • If your bracket has come loose, you can cover it with wax to prevent rubbing until you see your orthodontist.
  • If the arch wire is poking into your mouth, cover the end with wax.
  • If your bracket has fallen off, but you still have it, keep it safely and take it to your orthodontist for reattachment.
  • Rinse your mouth with salt water to promote healing of any associated ulcers, and eat a soft diet to prevent further damage. Over the counter analgesics may be helpful if there is any pain due to ulceration.

It’s critical you see your orthodontist as soon as possible after damaging your braces. Braces and brackets work as a network, applying gentle force to your teeth. Even a single loose bracket may slow down the process of straightening your teeth.

About Norwest

Norwest Orthodontics specialises in helping patients achieve a great smile, no matter their age. We feature a range of orthodontic treatments that span from early intervention right through to remedial adult work.

You can learn more about our services, or contact us to make an appointment.

Help, I’ve broken my braces…

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