Braces are an undeniable feat of engineering. They can help adults and children straighten their teeth, improve their smile and self-confidence as well as fix oral health issues and potential, more severe, dental problems.
Fixed metal braces can help correct bite issues, overcrowded teeth, and gappy or crooked teeth and they are also customisable, making it fun for teenagers and adults alike to choose colourful bands that sit around their bracket and give a pop of colour every time they open their mouth.
There is some responsibility on the wearer however, to ensure their braces are properly looked after, as even though they are an exceptionally strong device that can lead teeth into the correct position, they can also come up against everyday objects that we put in our mouths, being too harsh with brushing and eating foods that are too tough for brackets and wires to cope with.
The Role of Brackets and Wires on Your Braces
Brackets are a small, square-shaped metal or ceramic device, that are bonded to each tooth, and which serve as an anchor for the archwire to attach. The archwire, in turn, applies gentle pressure to help guide teeth into their desired positions. Brackets are typically made of metal, ceramic, or plastic, and they play a crucial role in the overall effectiveness of orthodontic treatment.
What can Cause a Broken Bracket?
The breaking of brace brackets is very common and even though braces are robust, precautions still need to be taken and proper care is needed to keep them in good working condition.
Aggressive Oral Care.
It is always vital to maintain good oral hygiene, even more so when you have fixed braces, but it is important that you are not too aggressive with your brushing technique. Brushing your teeth too hard and using a hard bristled toothbrush, can damage your braces, alongside chewing on hard objects such as pens etc.
Grinding Your Teeth.
The pressure created on your teeth when you grind them is significant, and if you have brackets fitted to your teeth, this could cause them to loosen and break. Also, if you have a deep bite, this can put pressure on your lower brackets, loosening and potentially causing them to detach from your teeth.
An Inappropriate Diet.
Certain foods can cause damage to your brackets and wires. Foods such as chewing gum and sweets can get stuck in between the braces and pull on the brackets and wires. Also, crunchy, and hard foods such as nuts, corn, and crisps can cause an impact and break brackets.
If you have food stuck in between your braces, then using proper flossing methods such as a floss threader is vital. Using your finger or the end of a pen to prod and poke food out of your braces can cause them to detach from your teeth and break.
Sustaining an Injury.
Getting hit in the mouth with considerable force can cause your brackets and wires to break or dislocate. Contact sports and physical activities can make mouth injuries more common so using a protective mouthguard could be beneficial for you.
Identifying a Broken Brace Bracket
If you think you possibly have a broken bracket, identifying the issue should be the first step. Patients may notice a bracket that feels loose, detached from the tooth, or completely broken, and sometimes, the archwire may no longer be secured within the bracket. If you suspect a broken bracket, it's important not to panic, as there are steps you can take to manage the situation.
- Inspect your Teeth and Braces – if you notice any of the small brackets are loose, gently remove them, ensuring not to swallow them. It’s important to check your teeth also, to ensure there is no additional damage.
- At-Home Remedies – if you notice your brackets seem to be floating or have protruding wires, you can use orthodontic wax to stop the brackets or wires from rubbing the inside of your mouth until you can get to an orthodontist. You can also use a cotton swab to gently push the protruding wire to rest against your teeth and it is also possible for you to use nail clippers to trim any broken wires. It is important to note that this should be a last resort and only used if absolutely necessary.
- Pain Control – If you’re experiencing discomfort from a broken wire or bracket, try rinsing your mouth with salt water and avoiding acidic or spicy foods that could irritate any sores or cuts. Use over-the-counter medication to dull pain and use a soft-bristled toothbrush. It also goes to note that you should continue to eat softer foods to prevent any further damage.
- Contact your Reliable Orthodontist in Oldham – these at-home remedies are not enough to fix your braces; it is important to seek out your orthodontist to help properly fix the issue. At Oldham Orthodontist, we are specialist orthodontists with a vast amount of experience in helping you fix and maintain your braces, as well as seeing to any injuries you may have sustained from the broken brackets or wires.
Prevention is Key
Your orthodontist is the best person to talk to you about preventing any future damage to your braces and can give you a detailed guide on how to do this. It is essential to be gentle when brushing your teeth, use a soft-bristled toothbrush, and rinse your mouth after eating and brushing to dislodge any remaining bits of food. It is also possible to use floss threaders or interdental brushes to remove stuck food instead of your finger.
Stick to the recommended diet of soft foods that won’t impact your braces. Stay away as much as possible from hard and crunchy foods such as nuts, corn, apples, etc, and sticky or chewy foods that get stuck easily in between your braces. Lastly, if you play contact sports or other physical activities, it is recommended to take a short break from this immediately after your braces are fitted, and when you do return, ensure you use a mouth guard in case any accidents to your face or mouth occur.
Oldham Orthodontics: Your Expert Orthodontist in Oldham
Our team at Oldham Orthodontics offer a wide range of the latest orthodontic treatment, helping children and adults gain beautiful smiles. We are expert orthodontists in Oldham with an extensive background in fitting, maintaining, and fixing brace brackets and wires.
If you would like more information or to book an appointment with our specialist orthodontist in Oldham, we will be only too happy to discuss fixed braces and other treatment options with you. Contact us today and book your free consultation.