How to Handle a Loose Bracket on Your Braces

During your time wearing braces, there is a chance that one of your braces / brackets may come loose. But don’t panic — there are a few ways you can manage it until you’re able to get back into your orthodontists office for a repair. First, it’s important to understand the most common ways that brackets break, so that to the best of your ability, you can avoid the situation entirely.

Common Ways Your Brackets Can Come Loose

  • Eating hard foods (candy, ice, nuts, popcorn, gum, bagels, pita chips)
  • Biting down hard directly on one of the lower braces – your bite will often change during treatment
  • Traumatic Mouth injuries (always wear a mouthguard when playing sports!)
  • Bad Habits, i.e. (Fingernail biting, chewing on pens or pencils)
  • Aggressive or improper hygiene practices, i.e. flossing or brushing
  • Low Bond Strength of the bracket to tooth – may be due to tissue inflammation or contamination with saliva during bonding of the brackets.

If your bracket becomes loose within 1-2 days of it being placed, then it is likely due to bond failure or an interference with the bite. If it has been more than 2 days since it was place, the cause is usually excessive force on the bracket from eating, bad habits, or the bite. Either way, call your orthodontist to schedule a repair.

What to Do if a Bracket Comes Loose

  1. Schedule an appointment. Call your orthodontist and schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Be sure to tell them the reason, as they may have personalized advice on how to manage it.
  2. Put wax on. Place orthodontic wax on the bracket if it is pressing against your gum or the inside of your cheek to avoid irritation.
  3. Fix the wire. If the wire has also broken and is sticking out, carefully use a cotton swab or pencil eraser and try to put it back into place. If the bracket has come off entirely, be sure to save it and bring it with you to your next appointment to get it fixed. If the wire is pokey and uncomfortable, you can cut the wire behind the last attached bracket with a finger nail clipper and carefully remove the broken wire piece.
  4. Rinse. Regularly rinse your mouth with warm salt water or soothing rinse like Peroxyl to help heal any small ulcers which may develop from irritation of the tissue. 

Frey Orthodontics For All Your Braces Needs

Whether you need a quick fix for a broken bracket or are just starting to try straightening your smile, Frey Orthodontics is here for you. Our Illinois offices in Naperville and Algonquin offer a variety of treatment options including metal braces, invisalign, and clear ceramic braces. Call today to schedule a free consultation!