Here at Reichheld Ting Orthodontics, we know that broken braces can sound like a real nightmare. Ouch! Luckily, it’s usually not as bad as it sounds, and we’ve gone ahead and jotted down a few steps to follow for what to do if your braces break. Read on to learn more!
Step #1 – Remain Calm!
So you’ve broken a bracket. Hey, it happens! This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have an emergency on your hands. Dr. Jay, Dr. Steve, Dr. Brian, Dr. Tim, and Dr. Steve Jr. are more than capable of taking care of things for you. This isn’t exactly the most uncommon problem in the history of orthodontics!
It’s essential to remain calm. That way, you can properly determine the extent of the damage, and since you aren’t panicking, you won’t accidentally cause further breakage. This will also help you to avoid swallowing the bracket.
Step #2 – Take stock of the damage.
Now that you’re nice and calm, go ahead and take a close look at the bracket and see if you can figure out what’s wrong with it. Is the wire in place? If so, keep it there! If it’s fallen out of place, you can use a q-tip or pencil eraser to push it back into place using gentle pressure. Every patient should receive orthodontic wax when they get their braces on. Use some of the wax to secure the bracket in place until you can come in to see us.
In the event that the bracket has come entirely loose from the wire, you can remove it, but be sure and bring it with you when you come in for your next appointment so we can evaluate the breakage.
Types of breakage
There are numerous ways your braces could break, but here are a few of the most common types:
- Floating Bracket
This means that one of the brackets has separated from the tooth but is still attached to the wire. This sort of break is not likely to be painful or inconvenient, as everything is where it should be in the mouth. One tip for dealing with a floating bracket is to sterilize a pair of tweezers and use them to move the bracket along the wire to its appropriate position. You can then place orthodontic wax to hold it in place. This will cut down on any annoying rubbing you may otherwise experience.
- Broken Wire
In the case of a broken archwire, it will stick out and cause cheek irritation if not handled appropriately. Use a pair of nail clippers or a small pair of pliers to shorten the end down to a neat finish that won’t cut the inside of your mouth. Then cover any remaining wire with orthodontic wax. You can put a tissue below the site in the mouth to catch the wire if you’re worried about accidentally swallowing it.
- Protruding/Poking Wire
This occurs when the wire is not broken but instead has shifted out of its position at the last bracket. Much like a broken wire, a protruding wire can lead to discomfort. Go ahead and treat this like a broken wire by shortening the end that sticks out, then covering the rest in orthodontic wax.
Step #3 – Evaluate if the problem is a true emergency and give us a call!
Not every broken bracket or pokey wire is a true orthodontic emergency that requires immediate attention. If you can fix the problem at home, or if you aren’t uncomfortable, a lot of the time the broken areas can be repaired at your next regularly scheduled visit. That being said, if you ever have a question or if you are in pain, give us a call! We can walk you through the appropriate steps and make sure you are back to 100%. At RTO, we believe we are in this together. That’s why on weekends we even have a phone line just for emergencies so you are never more than a phone call away from the help you need.
Tips before your appointment:
Chances are, you won’t be able to make it in right away to have us fix up your braces in the event of a minor break. That being the case, here are a few tips and tricks you can use to avoid any discomfort while you wait for your appointment:
- Use a saltwater rinse at regular intervals to promote the natural healing process.
- Keep away from hard or sticky foods since these can lead to more issues with broken brackets. It’s better to opt for softer foods such as yogurt or cooked pasta.
- Go ahead and treat any irritation you may experience with over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen (tylenol).
Need More Help?
Check out Dr. Steve, Jr. walking you through some of the most common orthodontic emergencies and how to fix them here!
We’ll See You Soon!
Here at Reichheld Ting Orthodontics, we take pride in operating a multi generational institution in Acton, Billerica, Lowell, and Westford, MA. Broken braces and pokey wires happen with braces. We’re here to make sure you’re taken care of when it does so that you can continue to “Live Life Smiling!”