How to Prevent a Broken Bracket: Essential Tips

It’s estimated that as many as four million Americans wear braces. While invisible braces are getting more popular, the majority of people tend to opt for traditional metal braces. These are both cheaper and quicker in many cases.

Unfortunately, they do have a downside: they’re breakable. Specifically, things like a broken bracket can mess up your treatment plan. They can also be quite painful until you get them fixed.

So, how do you prevent broken brackets from occurring? And what should you do if you find yourself with a broken bracket? In this braces maintenance tips guide, we’ll answer these questions so you can ensure that you keep your braces safe and intact during treatment. 

What Is a Braces Bracket?

Before we learn about how to prevent them from breaking, it’s important to first understand exactly what a braces bracket is. When you get metal braces, you’ll have a tiny metal square that’s attached to each tooth.

These are called brackets. When combined with wires and bands, the brackets help exert pressure on your teeth, which helps them slowly shift places.

Unfortunately, the adhesive that binds the brackets to your teeth isn’t perfect. As such, certain things can cause them to fall off or break if you don’t know how to care for braces. 

What Are Some of the Common Reasons for a Broken Bracket?

By far, one of the most common reasons for a broken bracket is eating problem foods. Remember that when you eat with braces there are certain foods you need to avoid.

Specifically, hard and sticky foods. When you eat things like a caramel apple, hard candy, or nuts, it can exert a lot of pressure on your brackets. This, in turn, can cause them to snap off.

Another common cause – injuries caused by accidents. This is especially common if you play a contact sport like football.

However, it can also occur if you fall or bump the brackets while eating or drinking. Some other common reasons include things like:

  • Chewing on inedible objects like pens or water bottle caps
  • Putting on your elastics improperly
  • Waiting too long in between appointments

The last cause is poor dental hygiene. When you don’t clean your teeth regularly with braces, the plaque will begin to cover the brackets.

This can cause them to loosen their bond. What’s worse, this can also lead to gum disease, which can have serious consequences for your health. 

How Do You Know If a Bracket Is Broken?

Most of the time it will be pretty apparent when a bracket is broken. You’ll usually be able to visually confirm it by checking the mirror. You might also notice that the bracket feels loose and wiggly when you push it with your tongue.

Another sign is feeling a wire poking out into your gum or cheek. You might notice that it’s more difficult to keep up with your regular oral hygiene routine.

Unfortunately, sometimes people don’t notice when a bracket is loose or broken. While this isn’t the end of the world, it can prolong your treatment since the braces aren’t straightening your teeth properly.

As such, if you notice any potential red flags, you should consult with your orthodontist right away. 

How to Prevent Broken Brackets

You can avoid broken braces by being careful about what you eat or chew. Avoid things that put a lot of pressure on your brackets, like hard, sticky, or chewy food.

Also, make sure you never chew anything that’s not food (like a pencil). It can be hard to protect your brackets against trauma and accidents. However, you can add a layer of protection by wearing a mouthguard if you play contact sports.

Look for one that’s specifically designed for protecting braces. Always make sure you’re wearing any elastics as instructed and schedule regular appointments with your orthodontist. 

Lastly, make sure you’re regularly brushing your teeth. While this can be challenging with braces, if you follow these braces care routines, it will ensure that you do a thorough job.

What Should You Do If Your Bracket Breaks?

It’s easy to panic when you notice a broken bracket. It’s important to remain calm. Stressing out over the brackets isn’t going to fix the problem. Instead, inspect the damage.

Are you in any pain? Do you notice any wires poking out? If the answer is no, then you might be able to simply wait until your next orthodontist appointment. Double-check to make sure all of the wires are firmly in place.

If you do notice a big problem, you might be tempted to try a DIY fix. This isn’t recommended at all. Since you’re not a professional, odds are you’ll do more harm than good.

Instead, contact your orthodontist and explain the broken bracket. Get their opinion on whether you should come in as soon as possible or whether you can wait for the next appointment. They’ll walk you through the next few steps. 

How Can You Protect Your Mouth in the Meantime?

There are things you can do that will protect your mouth while you wait for an orthodontist appointment. If one of the wires is protruding into your gums or cheek, apply orthodontic wax or a small cotton ball to the end.

This is important because if it scratches the inside of your mouth, it can lead to canker sores, which are quite painful. For a floating bracket that’s suspended on the wire, try attaching some sugarless gum.

This is a temporary solution, but it will keep it from moving around. For bent wires, you can try straightening them with plyers. However, this isn’t recommended as it can cause further injury. 

Interested in Braces? Contact Central Virginia Orthodontics

We hope this guide helped you learn how to prevent a broken bracket. While there are many things you can do to prevent broken brackets, even the most vigilant person is still at risk of them.

That’s why you need an orthodontic team that can meet with you on short notice to fix the bracket. Here at Central Virginia Orthodontics, we pride ourselves on offering quick response times at an affordable price.

So schedule your consultation with us today to begin your braces journey.