Broken Brackets — What to Do
Brackets are essential parts of dental braces that aid the teeth's movement or alignment to the desired position. They are little stainless steel in the shape of boxes, glued to the front of each tooth with a special kind of adhesive.
Unfortunately, accidents happen, and brackets break. In fact, this occurs more often than you’d want to imagine. A broken bracket may occur due to a direct blow to the mouth or consumption of hard, sticky food substances. Although a broken bracket may cause pain and discomfort, the good news is that it can be fixed. There are a few things that you can do to improve the situation pending the time you get medical help from an OMG Smiles orthodontist. Read on to discover what to do when you end up with a broken bracket.
What Should You Do When You Have Broken Brackets?
When you observe that you have a broken bracket, do not panic. Here are a few things to do to fix the damage and make your injury as minimal as possible.
Check the Extent of the Damage
The first thing to do is conduct a thorough assessment of the affected area to assess the damage. You can only do this effectively when you are calm. Not worrying or panicking is also important because an affected bracket may cause other parts of your braces to become loose and fall off since they are all linked together. If you notice a loosened bracket, remove it carefully and keep it in a safe container.
Other times, the brackets may float but not break off altogether. This happens when they no longer stick to your teeth. The float does not cause serious pain; however, it can still be very uncomfortable as the brackets rub against your gum and cheeks. In this case, you could do a couple of things before your next orthodontic appointment.
Grab a pair of sterilized tweezers and use them to set the brackets in the right position. The tweezers should also be used to position the brackets suitably in between the teeth. Another step you can take to ease an uncomfortable bracket is to apply some amount of dental wax to it. This temporarily holds the bracket in place before you get to an orthodontist.
Get Rid of Loose Wires
The break may sometimes cause the linking wires between the braces to bend and protrude, which may poke your mouth continuously and create cuts. This may lead to swelling of the mouth, further irritation, and pain. To deal with this, you can shorten the “extra” wire with a wire cutter, a nail clipper, or even a small plier. Alternatively, you can bend the wire away from your gum and cheeks or toward another bracket that is still intact. In some cases, you need to bite down on the wire to get the right bend.
Another alternative is to apply a pea-sized amount of orthodontic wax to cushion your gum from the sharp edge of the wires. The wax reduces direct contact between the gum and the protruding wires. This helps to reduce inflammation in the mouth. If orthodontic wax is out of reach, gum is a viable alternative. Just make sure it is sugar-free.
Get Help from a Professional
Although a broken bracket is not life-threatening, it should not be ignored. Therefore, after you might have diligently followed all the steps above, remember that they are only temporary solutions. You need a professional to fix a damaged bracket permanently. This is why you have to schedule a visit to OMG Smiles. The longer you stay away from a specialist, the longer you live with the pain and discomfort. Asides from the pain, you may have to wear braces for an extended period. The reason you have braces on in the first place is to correct the position of your teeth. Your treatment will not work if the brackets on the braces are broken.
You should report any challenges regarding your brackets or braces immediately. The orthodontist will fix the issue immediately or schedule an appointment date depending on the problem's severity. A bracket repair session with your orthodontist is a simple process that should be at most 10 minutes under normal circumstances. It involves removing the bracket, cleaning it, and sanitization, among other essential procedures. Ideally, after a thorough examination, the specialist will decide if the bracket/wire can be repaired or if you need to replace it entirely.
Keep Your Mouth Clean
The importance of good oral hygiene cannot be overstressed. Good oral hygiene keeps infections away. This is particularly important if you have bruises and cuts in your mouth due to broken brackets. Here are a few oral habits you can adopt before your appointment date.
- Regular brushing — This is the most basic dental routine. You should brush your teeth at least twice daily.
- Get rid of food chunks/remains from your teeth. This is important because bacteria can grow on them if left unchecked and infect your mouth injuries regardless of the size. Flossing your teeth is a great way to eliminate smaller food residues.
- You can gargle a warm mixture of salt and water frequently too. The saline solution cleans out the wound and reduces the likelihood of getting an infection. Note that you may feel slight pain when the salt comes in contact with an open wound.
- You can also use oral antiseptic rinses in place of saline solution. They have been specially formulated to hasten the healing process of mouth wounds and prevent gum inflammation.
- You may treat sores with benzocaine or ibuprofen as a substitute for mouth rinses.
What to Do to Avoid Broken Brackets
Here are some general rules you need to follow to avoid getting damaged brackets. Even if they are already broken, the rules can still help keep things in check before your next dental appointment.
- Avoid eating hard and crunchy food (like pretzels and ice) often. Go for softer food alternatives like pasta.
- Too hot or cold food is detrimental to your teeth. It is equally bad for your brackets. While eating, you should take small food bites at once. Asides from showing off your good table manners, it reduces the stress on the brackets.
- Stop messing with your brackets. You could break them if you tamper with them too frequently. You may even swallow one of them mistakenly if it comes loose.
- Always wear a mouthguard before you take part in any form of contact sport. It protects your mouth from injury.
- Use the right toothbrush. Wrong toothbrushes reduce the lifespan of braces. Brushes with soft and thin bristles are preferable. Hard toothbrushes will inflict injury on your gums and increase the strain on your brackets. The brackets will eventually break under too much pressure. Thin bristles help you get rid of more food particles while brushing.
The Best Way to Fix Your Broken Bracket
Broken brackets can be annoying. The uncomfortable feeling, the unwanted pokes, the pain, and the unscheduled visit to a dental clinic. Fortunately, a broken brace is fixable. If you ever end up with a broken bracket in New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Connecticut, visit OMG Smiles dental clinic to get professional orthodontist care. We also specialize in installing new braces and invisible aligners. Call now or schedule a consultation with our team of highly qualified orthodontists to fix your existing bracket or install a new one.
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