Since braces represent a long-term investment in your time and money, a broken bracket is an immediate concern. Children, especially those that participate in sports or outdoor play, can experience a broken bracket in the course of their treatment. But even adults can encounter this troubling event at least once. Thankfully, this is a common issue that can be easily addressed by your orthodontist.
However, ignoring a broken bracket, even waiting until the next scheduled appointment, can negatively affect the progress of your treatment. Continue reading to learn what does a broken bracket look like and what to do about it so you can protect your investment and finish your treatment on time.
Want to find out if you or your child needs braces? Visit Reese Orthodontics in Charleston, SC for leading orthodontic care.
What Does a Broken Bracket Look Like?
Broken brackets are usually not literally broken. The bracket, which is normally attached to the front of the tooth with dental adhesive, can become separated from the tooth. This can cause it to spin or move up the wire.
Sometimes, a bracket can become so loose that it travels to the back of your mouth or even comes off. Some patients have been known to accidentally swallow these brackets, but don’t panic if that happens. Brackets are small enough to pass through the systems of anyone old enough to wear braces without doing any damage.
Just make sure to recognize the signs of a broken bracket in yourself or your child, including not only a bracket that has come loose from the tooth or wire but also one that seems to be missing entirely.
What Causes a Bracket to Break?
There are many ways a bracket can break, most of which are preventable. The most common is for food that should not be eaten during braces treatment to bend or pull on the bracket until it becomes loose. The biggest culprits include many of the foods on your orthodontist’s list of the foods you should avoid, including popcorn, sticky candy, nuts, and anything hard enough to splinter, even ice.
Another common cause of bracket breakage is any mouth injury. While playing, many kids get bumped in the mouth from falling, bumping into something, or getting hit by a ball. When braces are involved, these normally inconsequential injuries can lead to a bracket falling off.
Brushing and flossing are just as important while you wear braces (even more so) to ensure that food doesn’t remain trapped and build up into plaque and cause tooth decay. But did you know that being too vigorous with brushing and flossing can cause brackets to break? Brackets are supposed to stay attached for the duration of your treatment, but they aren’t supposed to be permanent. The adhesive eventually needs to be removed, which means that if you’re not careful, you can remove it on your own.
Anything that puts pressure on your braces can cause a bracket to fall off, even things that you aren’t doing consciously. If you grind your teeth at night, you may be subjecting your braces to a lot of pressure that will eventually cause them to come apart. The same thing can happen if you have a deep bite, which can cause your braces to get in the way of your bite, eventually causing damage.
Finally, messing around with your braces before or after they are applied can cause issues. During the bonding process, if the brackets were moved or nudged, which more commonly happens with young kids, they might be weaker to start with. Using toothpicks can cause a bracket to pop off as well.
What to Do About a Broken Bracket
Clearly, there are numerous ways a bracket can break. The good news is a broken bracket is not an orthodontic emergency and commonly happens to braces patients at least once, no matter their age. Orthodontists know exactly how to fix this issue quickly and neither the broken bracket nor the treatment should cause any pain.
If you notice a broken or missing bracket on your child’s braces (or your own), schedule an appointment with your orthodontist so they can fix it. If left broken for too long, a broken bracket can affect your treatment, so it’s important to address it promptly.
Choose Reese Orthodontics
If you’re an adult who is considering braces, you need professional advice on your treatment and payment options. For orthodontic treatments in Charleston, SC, Reese Orthodontics offers the latest technology and treatment plans. Our advanced and comfortable orthodontic treatments can be customized to suit your needs. A consultation with Reese Orthodontics includes scans, a comprehensive exam, and a conversation with the orthodontist to discover which treatment options are right for you.
Schedule an appointment with us today to stay ahead of your oral health and receive the best possible treatment in your area.